Ride Like a Leader: Ivan Basso

Basso leads the mice into the Pain Cave

Everyone knows that things like “tactics” and “thinking” are for the weak. After all, if you’re strong enough, loud enough, and stubborn enough, you should be able to outlast those pesky details like evidence, facts, or people who can ride their bikes faster than you can.

Ivan Basso knows this, and Ivan Basso believes he falls on the “strong enough” side of the fence. Whether he does or not remains to be seen, but three days from Milan, he is still racing – as he has this entire Giro – like the final Maglia Rosa in Milano has his name stitched into the collar.

In a race punctuated by fantastic rides from all the G.C. contenders, Ivan Basso’s Liquigas team stands out as the team who has taken control of each critical stage. I love seeing a rider toe up to the start line and race like its a foregone conclusion that he will wind up with the prize at the end of the three-week long tunnel that is the Giro. His team has been at the front every day, racing like they have the pink tunic on their leader’s back and haven’t bothered with minor details such as trailing in the standings by almost a minute and a half.

While a clever tactician wins my respect; a rider who races from the front wins my heart. It was good enough for Eddy, so its good enough for Ivan. Bravissimo!

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60 Replies to “Ride Like a Leader: Ivan Basso”

  1. @Pedale.Forchetta
    Yep, there’s nothing wrong with being beaten by a better rider, I think Heys Darl surprised a lot of people, the guy rode from the front and didn’t crack…

  2. @Pedale.Forchetta
    I am with you 100%. He is a classy dude, with some great wins to his name.

    I’ve adored Basso for close to a decade; this post was deliberately published before the big days because I admired the way he was racing and wanted to say something about it before we start polluting the waters with 20/20 hindsight. He was riding the race like a leader, like the race was his to lose. I loved that attitude.

    Of course, in the end he didn’t have what it took (barring an eyebrow-raising ITT performance!) but he rode with lots of class.

    When I compete, the only thing that matters is the result, though the path to the result has to be dignified.

    When I watch others compete, the way in which they win or lose matters a great deal to me. Riding with class or panache matters as much to me as a spectator as does the win. That’s where competing yourself differs from watching it on TV. I love it. And speaking of which, J-Rods fight up the last ramps of today made me respect him for the first time. The little guy has some heart.

  3. @frank

    Buonissimo, frank. I can never be arsed to get the fork marks in my Gnocchi – I’m normally too busy removing the dough from the walls and the ceiling. My wife’s extended family is from friuli, where some of the cuisine is as much hungarian as italian. Best gnocchi sauce I had was wild boar in something very paprika-y that was almost like goulash. NZ seems a long way away sometimes…I was sat there watching the giro today and tears were rolling down my wife’s face as she listened to the commentary…definitely the most beautiful race.

  4. @nico

    @brettYep Yep, kind of lagging in talent. Contador would have won this race by about 20 minutes.

    Your dude is a convicted doper. I want to see the good kids race.

    Good job on the Gnocchis. I want to re-supper now.

  5. Cool result for all those Canadian sufferers out there, eh? Along with Australia and the States, yet another former colony getting their hands on something which the mother country can’t seem to find: a Grand Tour win!

    Where’s your messiah (Wiggo) now England???

    Ha! Ha! Ha! EH!!!!

  6. @frank

    In solidarity with the second Giro going to a non-Italian, we are having hand-made Gnocci tonight.

    Totally confused by this. By non-Italian, do you mean “from the Americas”?.

  7. @itburns
    He can’t mean Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Luxembourg, Russia, Switzerland or France, surely? They’re all Italians, innit?

  8. @Cantona


    Pardon me, but what a load. Ryder is a young racer coming in to his own and there’s no reason to think he’s “second rate”. Phinney wins a 10 km time trial and we have to suffer through a week of the American announcers talking about him as though he’s the second coming. Ryder puts in three solid weeks and is poised to win the Giro and he’s second rate? Puleeze.

    32 is hardly a “young racer”, but he’s definitely coming in to his own and deserved his win. I described the field as second-rate, which, stacked against a Tour field, it is. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t good racing though, just not on the same level as the Tour.

  9. @Mikel Pearce

    I’m sorry, I can’t hear the Italian hearts, what with the sound of all the Canadian hearts swelling and beating faster every day we get closer to one of our won winning a Grand Tour!

    Go, Ryder, go. Ride like the beast you are and wear pink in Milan.

    Oh, I was a bag of hammers over the last few days. I was driving to a road race and had to pull over when Ryder won. I am not sure if I screamed, laughed, or cried. or all three.

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