An immensely significant victory.
Liquigas-Cannondale wraps up the season with 38 wins
The team's hopes and dreams on the eve of the race came true: Liquigas-Cannondale has won the final race of the season, the Japan Cup, thanks to an incredible performance by Ivan Basso. This was the best possible end to Liquigas' adventure: the Italian company is bidding a fond farewell to cycling after eight years.
Basso sealed the green and blue team's season with win number 38 by out-powering Martin and Majka in the final three-man sprint. The decisive move came with 20 km to go and was followed by another attack on the final climb 3 km from the finish; this meant the peloton, which was superbly controlled by his teammates, had no chance of bridging across to the Italian.
«We really wanted this win and it's quite emotional. The entire team wanted to honour this race as it was a very significant one for us. It's a way of thanking Liquigas for the commitment and passion that they brought to cycling. On a personal note, coming back to Japan four years after I started with Liquigas and winning on the day they say adieu to cycling is something very special that I can't put into words. We had a great win today; I might have crossed the line first but it was only thanks to the brilliant work by all my teammates. We're all really happy: the people have been very welcoming which is fantastic and today is a day for everyone to celebrate. »
Ivan Basso's victory is also the first time a Cannondale team has won the Japan Cup.