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Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) will take aim for a third maglia rosa as he targets the Giro d’Italia as his season highlight.
Basso has twice won the Italian tour, but skipped last year’s edition to take one last run at the Tour de France. That effort fell short, with Basso finishing eighth behind Cadel Evans, without ever being a serious threat for the yellow jersey.
With a 2012 Tour route heavy on individual time trials, Basso has once again set his sights on the Giro.
“I will return to the the Giro,” Basso said during Liquigas’s team presentation Thursday in Italy. “That’s the big aim for the first part of the season.”
Basso won in 2006 and again in 2010 in what was his comeback from a racing ban after admitting his role in the Operación Puerto blood-doping ring.
Basso’s teammate, Vincenzo Nibali, will be Liquigas’s top hope for the Tour. Nibali won the 2010 Vuelta and rode to third in last year’s Giro behind Alberto Contador and Michele Scarponi.
Nibali, who skipped the 2011 Tour, will be looking to improve on his seventh place during the 2009 Tour.
Liquigas’s other top rider, Peter Sagan, will be focusing on the spring classics, Olympic Games and world championships.