Giro Stage 19 – Is Ivan Basso the Classiest Man in Cycling?

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to think Ivan Basso is currently the classiest man in professional cycling. Not only did he admit and atone for the sins of his past, but today he demonstrated the humility of a true champion.

Having broken away at the base of Mount Vesuvius with Stefano Garzelli (whom he promptly dropped), Basso was soon joined by Carlos Sastre (who went on to the win the stage). Dropped by Sastre with about 5 km to go, Basso rode at his own pace and then practically put a foot down to wait for his surging teammate Franco Pellizotti. And as the video clearly illustrates, this was no token; he waited, even turning his head at one point to look back down the road for his teammate.

For a domestique, it would have been nothing more than a textbook piece of teamwork. But for a rider who came into the Giro with something to prove as well as GC aspirations of his own, it was truly a sight to behold. For me, the event proves that Basso has indeed put his past behind him and in doing so has demonstrated not only the ability to ride with the sport’s greatest riders, but also the class of a true champion. In a day and age where we seem to be more concerned with what certain riders are saying (or not saying), Basso’s actions speak the loudest of all.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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