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Some of you may have noticed Basso riding two different models of Cervelo's for various mountain stages. Here is an explanation from Cervelo's latest newsletter.

Basso’s bikes at the Giro

Some people have been contacting us as they are confused about Ivan’s bike choices for the mountains. Ivan won the first real mountain stage on his Soloist Carbon, then rode an R3 for the second mountain stage, his Soloist Carbon again for the third mountain stage and an R3 for the fourth. As we are in touch with the team almost on a daily basis during big races like the Giro, we thought we would give you some insight into what’s happening.

Ivan rode the R3 in a couple of stages largely as an experiment. He had never ridden an R3 but had heard Cancellara and Kroon talk about it, so he wanted to try one out himself. It's not a very useful bike for him as it falls below the UCI weight limit so he needs to add weights (see Scott Sunderland's notes in his diary here). Ivan's Soloist Carbon is put together at a hair over 6.8kg, just to be on the safe side of the UCI weight limit (if your bike is weighed and it comes in at 6.799 instead of 6.8kg, it is an automatic disqualification, and you never know how accurate the scale will be).

Because his Soloist Carbon is already as light as is allowed, there is not much reason to ride anything else, unless he decides to tackle Paris-Roubaix.... or stage 17 of the Giro. That stage will end in a 5km climb that may be gravel or dirt, depending on the last minute planning of the race organizers. Originally this path was supposed to be paved before the riders would get there, but it now appears it won’t be. Especially if spectators are allowed on the road (and we use the term “road” generously), the surface could be very bad, in which case wide tires and a Paris-Roubaix-like set-up are called for. So the thinking is that the R3 is the best bike for stage 17 (but we'll make a last minute decision after scouting the finish area one more time), and now that Ivan has ridden on the R3 for a couple of stages he feels comfortable taking it off-road. After that, he may ride either bike; it will probably have to do more with a gut feeling than anything else. He’s won a mountain stage on each model now, so he can’t really go wrong either way.

The rest of the team will ride the Soloist Carbon, as they are not too concerned with the last 5km of stage 17 and the Soloist Carbon is the fastest option in any other situation.

Of course there is no confusion as to what bike Ivan will ride in the time trials. The P3 Carbon is the ProTour TT bike with the most wins under its belt; there is nothing else like it so it’s an easy choice.
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