peloton / Yuzuru Sunada

Ivan Basso will lead the Cannondale team at this weekend’s Gran Premio Città di Lugano, The Italian rider plans to use the Swiss event as a platform to strengthen his condition and test for form. Basso debuted in early February at the Gran Premio Costa degli Etruschi and March will be an important preparation month as he approaches the Giro d’Italia. To ensure that he is in fighting shape for the Giro, Basso decided, with agreement from the team, to change his race schedule and ride Roma Maxima and Tirreno-Adriatico before Volta a Catalunya.

“Lugano, Roma and then the stages of Tirreno-Adriatico is what I need at this moment of the season. These three races have demanding routes, and I want to perform well,” said Basso, who won the Gran Premio Città di Lugano in 2011.

“I don’t need to win to prove that I am working hard, but my high level performance will be a boost of confidence as we head into the rest of the year. I’ve only raced once this season, but I’ve trained a lot. During Lugano I want to improve upon how I connect with the race. I know that I can achieve this goal by being the leader and helping my teammates. A good team result is the most important outcome.”

In addition to Ivan Basso, the team includes Paolo Longo Borghini as another experienced rider and a strong line-up of young guns – Daniele Ratto, Davide Villella, who recently placed 6th at Trofeo Laigueglia, Matej Mohoric, Davide Formolo, Matthias Krizek and Michel Koch.