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Basso will aim for Giro-Tour double

Logstor, Denmark (Reuters) -- CSC's Ivan Basso is determined to fill the cycling spotlight left by Lance Armstrong's retirement by attempting to win both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in 2006. Basso originally announced he would focus on the Tour de France after finishing second behind Armstrong this year. But he announced a surprise change of plan at his team's first training camp of the new season in northern Denmark."It's a risk going for two major races in the same season but I really want to try and win both the Giro and the Tour," Basso told Reuters. "It

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By Reuters

Logstor, Denmark (Reuters) — CSC’s Ivan Basso is determined to fill the cycling spotlight left by Lance Armstrong’s retirement by attempting to win both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2006.

Basso originally announced he would focus on the Tour de France after finishing second behind Armstrong this year.

But he announced a surprise change of plan at his team’s first training camp of the new season in northern Denmark.”It’s a risk going for two major races in the same season but I really want to try and win both the Giro and the Tour,” Basso told Reuters.

“It doesn’t mean I will win but it’s a risk I’m prepared to take. The Tour de France is the most important race in cycling but I’m Italian and so the Giro is special for me. I couldn’t miss it.”

Cycling’s three-week long stages races are extremely tough and few riders attempt to win the Giro in May and then the Tour in July.

German Jan Ullrich, expected to be one of Basso’s main rivals in the Tour de France, is also planning to ride the Giro for his T-Mobile team, but has said he will use it for training.

American Armstrong won seven consecutive editions of the Tour between 1999 and 2005 but never tried to win two major stage races in one year.

Italy’s Marco Pantani was the last rider to do the Giro and Tour double in 1998.

The Giro d’Italia will be held from May 6-28 and the Tour de France between July 1-23.