Ivan Basso will lead the Cannondale Pro Cycling team at the Giro d'Italia. Elia Viviani has been named the team's sprinter.
Basso won the Giro d'Italia in 2006 and 2010 and this season, he has built his season around the Italian Grand Tour. Basso says he has worked hard in training and the team management just hope that he speaks the truth.
“Basso’s results and preparation were as expected. He focused only on the Giro and we wanted him ready for this race. After two difficult years, this time Ivan followed his program without problems or injuries. He did all he had to do. Now the roads will give the verdict, but not many riders are as tough and determined as Ivan," sport director Stefano Zanatta said in a press release from the team.
Sprinter Elia Viviani will make his debut at the Giro d'Italia. He will try to beat Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) in the sprint finishes, but he is mostly there to learn.
"It’s important that he takes his chances and gains experience. We’re confident in him but he’s not under pressure to win. Elia is a young guy with a great talent: he will be free to race without pressure,” Zanatta explained.
Tiziano Dall’Antonia, Paolo Longo Borghini, Alan Marangoni, Fabio Sabatini, Cameron Wurf, Cristiano Salerno and Josè Sarmiento will also be part of the team.
“The Giro d’Italia is such an important race and the team is very motivated,” Zanatta said.
“I think will be a tough race until the very last day and Cannondale Pro Cycling will be able to play an important role. Nibali and Wiggins, as well as their teams: Astana and Sky, will have the pressure of being the favourites. We need to be patient and to be ready to exploit every situation. We know the Giro will be a hard challenge, but we're not ruling out any final result.”
Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) rode the GP di Larciano and the Giro di Toscana this weekend to prepare for the Giro d'Italia. And he seems to be in good form.
Last year, the American won the opening time trial stage at last year's Giro d'Italia in Denmark and wore the race leader's pink jersey for three days. This Saturday, the 2013 Giro d'Italia starts with a circuit stage. Phinney will try to contest sprint finishes this year, but he will also play a vital role at stage two, a team time trial.
This weekend, Phinney went on the attack at the GP di Larciano for over 100km. Then on Sunday he finished third in at the Giro della Toscana- Italian sprinter Mattia Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli) won ahead of Ivan Rovny (Flaminia Fondriest).
"I started thinking about the sprint and going for the win in the last couple kilometres," Phinney said in a press release.
"I closed a bit of a gap to a guy who went early with about 300 meters to go. I came around him with about 100 meters to go but unfortunately I didn't quite have enough gas to hold off Gavazzi and Rovny. But it's a really nice feeling to be back at the front of a race like that, though, especially since it was full gas all day, up and down."
Movistar's Rui Costa finished third at this year's Tour de Romandie. With this good form he can perhaps defend his title in next month's Tour de Suisse.
On the uphill finish on stage 4 of Tour de Romandie, Costa was third behind Simon Spilak (Katusha), who won, and Chris Froome (Sky). And then at the final time trial, he continued to show that he is in good form and finished 12th.
"We knew it was certainly hard to be on top of the overall, with [Chris] Froome the strongest in the mountains and more than a decent time triallist, but there were two podium places up for grabs," Costa said.
"It was sad to lose the chance to be second yesterday with [Simon] Spilak at the front, but it was a really hard stage and there wasn't any cooperation at all into the pursuit group. Alejandro [Valverde] and I always spoke a lot within ourselves and we were feeling not so well, so we couldn't really get any further yesterday."
Before the final stage, Rui Costa was leading RadioShack's Robert Kiserlovski by just one second in the general classificaion. But as he finished 12th in the time trial, Costa secured third overall by five seconds over Garmin's Tom Danielson.
"I don't know if it's due to the big Portuguese community living here and cheering for me on these roads - the really important thing is that I'm achieving good results in many races. I wasn't really expecting to make it into the best three here, though I gained confidence after doing a good race in Liège."
"This podium was possible thanks to all team members - they committed to us all week and their work was really important. Switzerland keeps bringing me good results. Now I'll be taking a week's rest before starting my build-up to the Tour, with my mind on defending the Tour de Suisse title. That will be probably the only race I'll take part in before the Tour."