Yesterday, Ivan Basso attended the Collari d'Oro awards in Roma and took time to comment on his team search for the upcoming season. Il Varesino indicated to La Gazzetta dello Sport that a decision could be expected soon, saying, "Next week I will decide. I will return strong like in the first part of 2006. I still have a strong desire to win."
The 28 year-old is eyeing two teams: Johan Bruyneel's Discovery Channel and Claudio Corti's Barloworld. "It is 50% for Discovery and Barloworld," continued Basso, who was given the approval to resume racing on October 12 by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). "I want to race the Giro and the Tour, if my new team will allow this. In any case, this will be my first request to Discovery Channel. But now I just want to turn the page."
The American team has the opportunity to allow Basso to race both the Italian and French Grand Tours, something that will be discussed between Basso's manager, Giovanni Lombardi, and Bruyneel. But it is at Barloworld where the 2005 Giro winner could rebuild his group. The smaller, non-ProTour team would allow for Basso to bring along some of his old mates.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, both Daniele Nardello and recently retired Andrea Peron have been called by Basso regarding the 2007 season. The three riders, all from Varese, would find Corti's Barloworld better suited to meet their needs. The only drawback is Barloworld's non-ProTour status and the need to rely on wild-card entries into the Tour and Giro, which could be very difficult for the former.
Possibly complicating matters for Ivan Basso is tomorrow's meeting of ProTour teams in Paris. The day before the 2007 Tour de France route announcement, one of subjects for discussion is DNA testing of all the rides involved in the Spanish investigation, Operación Puerto. The idea of DNA treating, which was previously refused by Basso during his hearing with CONI, was discussed last month at a meeting in Salzburg and could gain momentum tomorrow.