Cycling News Flash for April 24, 2007
Edited by Laura Weislo
Basso's Giro participation in doubt
Italian cyclist Ivan Basso, who is set to face further investigations, including DNA testing, regarding his involvement in Operación Puerto, has been asked by his team to stop competition pending the outcome of the recently re-opened investigation.
The Discovery Channel team issued a statement that said that the team "has requested that Italian rider Ivan Basso not compete pending further information in a new investigation coming out of Italy."
"We continue to stand behind Ivan and intend to cooperate with all parties involved until there is closure. It is unfortunate that this is now occurring, however, I have spoke to Ivan and although frustrated he agrees and understands with the decision we have taken," said director Johan Bruyneel.
Angelo Zomegnan, Giro d'Italia director confirmed to La Gazzetta dello Sport that this will affect Basso's participation in the Giro d'Italia. "It's a complicated situation... Put in that situation, his participation in the Giro d'Italia will be difficult.
"To live under suspicion is frightening and I say that without any rhetoric. I hope that the truth comes out as soon as possible because cycling can't stand stress like this."
The move comes after the Italian Olympic Comittee (CONI) announced today that it would re-open the file against Basso after hearing that an Italian public prosecutor is interested in having bags of blood, which were seized as part of Operación Puerto and were alleged to contain Basso's blood, transfered from Madrid to Italy this week.
The bags, labelled 'Birillo' (allegedly Basso's dog's name) and the number '2' were suspected to belong to Basso, but CONI shelved the case last October after the Spanish judge in charge of the case ordered that national federations were not allowed to use the evidence in the case to pursue action against the athletes involved.
The judge, Antonio Serrano, dismissed the case in March after deciding that there was not enough evidence to pursue the case based on the laws that were in place at the time the raids on Eufemiano Fuentes' clinic occured, freeing the national federations to resume their own investigations in the matter. This later led to the comparison of the blood purported to belong to Jan Ullrich against a DNA sample from the German which came back as a match.
Basso was slated to arrive in Charleroi, Belgium for the start of the Flèche Wallonne (Wednesday) and the Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but instead, will travel to Rome to appear before CONI on May 2nd.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
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