10/21/2012 12:00:00 AM - TEAM NEWS!
Basso wins Japan Cup
Italian beats Dan Martin in sprint
Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) won the Japan Cup after out-sprinting Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) in a spirited race in Utsunomiya.
The initial Liquigas tactic was to set up the sprint for Peter Sagan, and the squad was prominent in pegging back a determined break featuring Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) on the final two laps of the race.
With 20 kilometres to go, however, Dan Martin threw the cat among the pigeons by attacking fiercely on the main climb, with Basso, Rafal Majka (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and Julian David Arredondo (Team Nippo) eventually bridging across.
The quartet collaborated smoothly thereafter and on the final lap it was clear that they would fight it out for the win. Martin again forced the pace the final time up the climb, and then attacked in the finale. Basso was smartly across to his wheel, however, and just edged the Irishman out in the sprint to claim victory as Liquigas leaves the professional peloton.
“It’s a win that I really wanted and it’s quite emotional,” Basso said. “The whole team wanted to honour this race for the significance it carried, it’s a sort of thanks to Liquigas for the passion they brought to cycling.”
For Basso himself, the Japan Cup carries a certain personal resonance. In 2008, he made his comeback from suspension at the Japan Cup, his first race in the colours of Liquigas. Basso was on the sidelines for 18 months after he admitted that he had “planned to blood dope” under the supervision of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.
“Coming back to Japan four years after my start with Liquigas and winning on their farewell to cycling is something special, I can’t explain it. We’re all very happy. The warmth of the people was fantastic and today is a festive day for everyone."
Read more on: Cyclingnews.com
Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) outsprints Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) to win the Japan Cup.
Photo: © Bettini