Ivan Basso’s National Appeal

I’m Ivan Basso. I’m looking for real men who don’t worry about being tired, who are ready to ride many kilometres on the road with the desire to finish first.

No, he’s not looking for new riders. Instead this is a radio advert with Ivan Basso promoting French car maker Citroen’s utility vehicles for small businesses and he wants “traders, artisans, entrepreneurs for Citroen’s commercial vehicles“. The full audio clip is here on youtube:

It’s of minor interest because it is rare these days to see a cyclist in a national advertising campaign. It’s happened in the past but today’s riders are more likely to fry their cycling shoes or even lend their image to sell beach towels but here we have Basso’s voice as central to mixing the idea of riding across Italy with selling vans.

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The Spin: Giro Stage 8

Italy has mountains running down its spine from north to south so when the weekend comes and the organisers want to pump the viewing figures they just need to head inland to find ski stations, long climbs and steep finishes.

Today is no exception with the finish in the small ski station of Laceno just 4.4km after the top of the Colle Molella, a climb with double-digit percentage gradients.

In addition to the preview there’s also a look back at the lessons from yesterday’s first summit finish.

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The Giro Contenders

It’s hard to pick a clear favourite for the Giro d’Italia. There’s no obvious star name. Instead there are several contenders on a similar level and then a collection of outsiders, mainly mountain specialists who could also shine. To make forecasting even harder many of those taking part have not had the best run of results recently which makes it tougher to judge their form.

But if these reasons make predicting the outcome even harder, all the better. The uncertainty should make for a more open race where riders could be battling to win seconds, as opposed to Alberto Contador’s victory lap of Italy in 2011.

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Goodbye Aldo Sassi

Sassi busy rebuilding fitness and recovering reputations It’s a stinker of a morning, first the news of Pegasus and now the departure of Aldo Sassi. Sassi was an Italian coach and sports scientist who ran the Mapei Training Centre near Milan in Italy. For too long in Italian cycling the idea of a sports doctor … Read more

Basso to win Tour de France?

I’ve been waiting to use the above photo for some time. Sent in by a reader some weeks ago, it’s graffiti from last summer’s Tour de France. So when I saw some headlines about Basso aiming to win the Tour de France, I thought the time had come. He had to be joking, right? Only … Read more

Aldo Sassi to tame the Cobra?

La Gazzetta Dello Sport says that Italian coaching maestro Aldo Sassi is ready and willing to work with Riccardo Ricco. “I know it could put my credibility in play but it’s easy to pick challenges you can’t lose. Sometimes you have to take risks with something big” says the Italian coach. Sasso works on Ivan’s … Read more

Managing Nibali and Basso

Who gets Girbecco next year? Liquigas have won two grand tours this year thanks to Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali. Indeed Nibali’s win marks the first Italian win in a grand tour outside the Giro since Pantani in 1998. It should be a particular satisfaction for Liquigas that 2010 has proved a vintage year with … Read more

Basso’s new face

A great photo courtesy of cyclingnews.com. For some time I’ve always thought Basso looked as if he wasn’t trying, his face was part smile, part gurn. Clearly this was a superficial opinion, he’s not spent the last year on a cycling travel holiday but yesterday’s stage up the dreaded Zoncolan showed a new face. Just … Read more