Pozzoleone, Italy - Team Liquigas' Ivan Basso will make his return to pro racing on October 26th at the Japan Cup on fi'zi:k's new Antares road saddle. The new light-weight, low profile saddle introduced at the fall Eurobike and Interbike shows with a scheduled November aftermarket release, has been on his Cannondale Supersix since mid-August.

"I'm very happy to finally be riding fi'zi:k," Basso said. "I know that both some of my rivals and comrades developed lasting relationships with fi'zi:k because they like to work closely with the athletes for development and feedback. I've visited their Pozzoleone headquarters several times and their European Marketing Manager, Gabriele Benedetti, has taken the time to work with both me and our mechanics. I tested a few saddles but I can say, honestly, that the Antares is the best saddle I've ridden in my entire career."

Both Basso and Garmin-Chipotle's Dave Zabriskie received the first two pre-production models in mid-August. Prior to joining the Garmin-Chipotle team last year, Zabriskie also had never ridden fi'zi:k saddles. Added US Marketing Manager, Suzette Ayotte, "It's not always easy to put a pro cyclist on a saddle they've never ridden and get the desired results, but both cyclists have been on the Antares ever since. We don't hope to unseat the Arione and Aliante, but the Antares is the solution for those somewhere in between."

While the Antares is most easily described as a cross between fi'zi:k's popular but contrasting Aliante and Arione models, the third dimension - the third A in their high performance road line-up - goes a few steps further to reduce weight while adding comfort. Measuring 274 meters in length, the Antares is 16 cm shorter than the Arione, flat across the top like the Arione and 142 cm at its widest point like the Aliante.

In comparison tests with other ultra light high-performance saddles, the CX padded Antares has 300% more nose padding and up to 15% more surface area. Introduced on the Arione CX early in 2008 the foam formulation adds no bulk but yields a super low-profile with added comfort. As Basso explained, "The padding and flat surface provides support to eliminate pressure on the prostate area and the wide nose provides support when I'm climbing in the saddle."

Fi'zi:k's new Antares will be available in two versions and is scheduled to land at IBD's in November. The mostly black with white, carbon braided rail version has a targeted weight of 145 grams and will retail for $230. The black with white Antares with k:ium rails has a targeted 175 grams weight and a retail price of $200.