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by Shane Stokes
February 25, 2015
He’s now 37 years of age and last season had a noticeably quieter year than before. However Ivan Basso’s move to the Tinkoff-Saxo team appears to have boosted his morale and performances, and he has now been named the team’s top protected rider for the GP Lugano on Sunday.
Announcing the lineup today, Tinkoff-Saxo said that he will take the start with seven others from the team and would have a special role. He added that others may also have a chance, depending on how the race plays out.
“We look forward to GP Lugano with expectations, as we want to play a dominant role in this race,” stated directeur sportif Bruno Cenghialta. “Ivan Basso is in good form and will be our team captain. However, it’s a race with different plausible outcomes for the finale, so we we’re fielding a versatile team in order to take into account that the race can be decided in a number of ways.”
Basso, a two-time Giro d’Italia champion who won the Swiss race in 2011, will be joined by Manuele Boaro, Jesús Hernandez, Sergio Paulinho, Evgeny Petrov, Oliver Zaugg and season debutants Jay McCarthy and Chris Anker Sørensen.
He said that his and the team’s expectations are high.
“My own philosophy, as well as that of the team, is that when we go to a race, our goal is to win. We will go to Lugano with the explicit aim of, firstly, being the main protagonist, and secondly to win the race.”
Basso showed solid form in last week’s Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta del Sol, where he rode prominently on the third day and set Alberto Contador up for his stage win.
His solid form could pay off well in the GP Lugano, which takes place on hilly terrain.
“It’s a one-day race, so it’s similar to a Classic and being a circuit it is similar to a world championship,” Basso said.
“It’s a demanding race that has two climbs that you repeat in each loop and as a result, we expect a tough day.”
Cenghialta said that in addition to Basso, Paulinho and Hernandez are also in good form and should fare well on the climbs. He said that it was best to adopt a multi-faceted approach for the event, and that the nature of the course could also suit Boaro.
“The race is often decided among 15 to 20 riders in a select group of tough riders, where Boaro has shown to have good speed in the legs after a strong early-season performance,” he said.
“The team will pay attention to the early breakaway. On a hilly parcours like this, the breakaway stands a better chance. Guys like Sørensen, Petrov and Zaugg have proven to be durable in these situations, participating in long breakaways.”
The race is 185 kilometres in total and includes five laps of a 34 kilometre circuit.