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Ivan Basso has confirmed he will race both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France for the 2012 season.
The Liquigas-Cannondale captain, speaking on Italian radio, said that the Giro-Tour double is possible. Whether he can win one or both remains to be seen.
“I believe that at my age you can race the Giro and Tour in the same year,” Basso said. “I believe that I can be strong in both, but I don’t think it’s possible to win both.”
Liquigas teammate Vincenzo Nibali, who finished seventh at the 2009 Tour but skipped the past two editions to focus on the Giro and Vuelta a España, will make the French national tour his focus in 2012.
Basso, meanwhile, is likely to focus on the Giro after deciding not to defend his 201o title. He put everything into this year’s Tour, but never was at his best and finished in Paris rather discreetly with eighth overall.
In his comeback season in 2009, after serving a ban for confessing to his role in the Operación Puerto doping scandal, he rode to fourth in both the Giro and the Vuelta.
In 2010, he won his second Giro title, but could not respond well when he rode the Tour later that summer, finishing 32nd.
In 2005, he also rode the Giro-Tour double, riding to 28th in the Giro after becoming ill while leading the race, only to come back to finish second to Lance Armstrong in what was the Texan’s seventh and final Tour victory.
In an interview over the weekend in La Gazzetta dello Sport, Basso questioned a ban by Italian officials that keeps riders who’ve served doping bans longer than six months from competing in the Italian national championships or the world championships.
Basso’s comments come as Liquigas-Cannondale is making preparations for the 2012 season. The team recently confirmed its 28-rider roster, which includes Americans Timmy Duggan and Ted King.