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The long-rumoured deal between Ivan Basso and the Tinkoff Saxo team has been finalised Tuesday, with the squad making it official that he will be part of the setup for two years.
The two-time Giro d’Italia winner is reuniting with Bjarne Riis, many years after he left in 2006 due to his involvement in Operacion Puerto.
“I’ve signed a two-year contract with Tinkoff-Saxo,” said Basso, the Giro winner in 2006 and 2010. “I’m really impressed by Oleg Tinkov’s project. It’s the best team in the world, and I’m proud to be a part of that.
“I will start from scratch with the determination and desire of a new professional, but with the head and experience of a veteran.”
Basso has been part of the Cannondale setup for the past seven seasons. He’s 36 years of age and while high performances have dwindled with age, he’s hoping that a change in team and surroundings will give a boost to his career as it nears a close.
Team owner Oleg Tinkov sees Basso as a big addition, and explains that his signing will advance one of the team’s big goals.
“With Alberto [Contador], Peter [Sagan], Rafal [Majka] and now Ivan we will become the number one team,” he predicted. “I have always liked Ivan; he was at lunch with me in 2007 as I would have liked him to be with my team already then. Now I’m happy to have him in our team because I know how serious and dedicated he is.
“I believe that he can be an important asset for conquering the Pink Jersey at the Giro.”
Meanwhile Spanish team Movistar has announced that it has extended the current contracts of the Spaniard Jonathan Castroviejo and the Italian Giovanni Visconti.
Both riders joined the squad in 2012 and will remain on board until the end of 2012. They are described as ‘crucial pieces’ of Eusebio Unzué’s structure, both for their individual results and also their performances for the team.
It describes the 27 year old Castroviejo as one of the most highly regarded domestiques, based on his performances in the 2012 Vuelta a España, the 2013 Tour de France and this year’s Giro d’Italia.
Visconti is four years older and took two stages in last year’s Giro. He bounced back well from a fractured tibia sustained in the Santos Tour Down Under, going close to a stage win in this year’s Tour de France. He also played an important support role for Alejandro Valverde there, helping the Spaniard to finish fourth overall.
Further contract announcements are expected for both teams.