Allez Basso!

I haven’t checked the standings in the Giro other than catching the headlines at Google News (I am so digging on a customized Google News Page) and a scan of the cycling blogs I follow, so I’m not quite sure how Ivan Basso is doing. You may remember Basso from his stellar showing at last year’s Tour de France, where he accompanied Armstrong to most of the mountain finishes, and beat him soundly at the end of one stage. Basso seems to be an agreeable fellow, more so after I caught this VeloNews interview:

VN: Many believe you’re poised to win the Tour, so why race the Giro now?

IB: It’s not easy to win the Tour next year. I did a very nice Tour, a very strong Tour, but not near the win. I still lost five, six minutes to Lance; that’s a lot of time. I think it’s better to talk about winning the Tour when you arrive near the winner, not six minutes away. That’s a big difference. …

VN: What is your impression of Armstrong?

IB: He’s the strongest rider in the group. He’s incredible and he’s the best professional. I see him at least one more year as strong. Every year is not the same, but Lance is amazing. I have much respect for him because he is a very big professional.

VN: How is your relationship with him?

IB: With me, he’s a big man, because he helped me in the Tour and after the Tour with my mother. His foundation helped my mother. I never had a problem with Lance. The problem is the riders that don’t respect Lance – he won six Tours – the other guys, shut up.

There’s more good stuff, like his bit on CSC Director Sportif (think Manager/Coach) Bijarne Riis’ view of life: “The most important thing is the confidence in yourself. That’s what Bjarne teaches us, then it’s no problem. You have to believe in yourself always. I focus on what I have to do, train, race, rest, it’s all okay. This is where has Bjarne has helped me a lot. He’s helped me so much with his philosophy. You believe in yourself always. You have to be a killer, but it’s not possible to change like this to that so fast.” Stuff like that is why I love cycling – most of the riders get “it”, the necessity for the long slog and hard work.

(And this would be a perfect place to rehash the classic Lance Armstrong quote – “People keep asking me what I’m on. You want to know what I’m on? I’m on my bike six hours a day, busting my ass. What are you on?”)

Skipped the run today, but had an absolutely beautiful ride yesterday. Temps in the low 60’s, bluebird skies, and strangely, no wind. Did about 12 miles in about 40 minutes, which is cooking pretty well. I was at a meeting near the Aquarium; headed over to Stonington via various back roads, then headed back to Mystic proper on US 1, crossed the drawbridge, absolutely FLEW down River Road on the Groton side with visions of LeMond on the Champs Elysses and either the 2003 or 2004 TdF Team Time Trial where they headed down the Normandy Coast running through my head, then turn around at Old Mystic and back to the Aquarium.

Great ride, but I ended up wishing I’d started by heading up to Old Mystic and taking the rt. 214? hill south-east out of town. The climb’s a bear (It’s the one I posted pics of last year), but the more often I do it, the more often I want to do it, just to see if I can do it faster or in a bigger cog. What a great feeling.

What are you on?