Saturday, May 29, 2010

Basso improves, Evans declines - we can all see that. And Liquigas is an evenly strong team. Together, a winning combination

It's a proven Grand Tour formula, come in just slightly underdone and improve as the weeks pass. Even if it doesn't always work - you can surely be too underdone and just weaken as the race progresses - Basso is clearly operating along these lines and peaking when it matters. It doesn't hurt his chances that his team is way out in front, either. Liquigas has put together an even team who have all progressed along a similar path to Basso, graduallly getting it all together and meshing in the 3rd week. Ideal, really, apart from the risky first week or so when everything seemed in upheaval. Point is that Sastre, Evans and Vinokourov each have what it takes to win this race but they have all suffered to varying degrees from crashes, loss of teammates and a gradual loss of form after some horrifically arduous stages. With a stronger team protecting him Basso has had an easier run and has saved more gas in the tank for when it matters. Just a couple of percent difference means a lot. If he doesn't have a horrible day tomorrow he'll take this race, deservedly.     

Evans Admits Giro Podium May Be Out Of Reach |
"Like they've done all week, Liquigas was really strong and can ride a really high rhythm on the climb. There's five of them and there's one of me and the rest of us are all left as the best of each of our team. They've got the strength in the numbers and also the strength of their leader."

Evans admitted that Basso has improved in the second half of the Giro, while he has faded.

"Ivan has been consistent and a little bit better than me in the second half of the Giro," he said.

"I had a few problems, which I'll speak about in Verona. It seems I'm not at the same level as I was at the start. But there's still another day tomorrow. We'll see."