By Susan Westemeyer
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) wants to ban Ivan Basso and all other riders suspected in the Operación Puerto doping scandal from riding in the Giro d'Italia, and is putting pressure on the race organiser to realise its goal.
Angelo Zomegnan, manager of the Giro organising group RCS Sport, said that "Naturally, openness and believability have priority. We will check everything out before coming to a decision." However, according to the dpa press agency, he is worried about the loss of sponsors as well as decreased media and public interest.
Meanwhile, Basso gave his first interview after the newest announcements, with the Italian newspaper Il Giornale. "I'm not going to give up, I'm going to carry on. I'm strong-minded," he said.
"However, I feel really frustrated. If these latest events had emerged in December or January, everything would have been clarified and closed now, for good or bad. Instead, new documents have suddenly arrived two weeks before the start of the race [the Giro d'Italia]. First they let me train like a donkey and then say 'Sorry, please stop and explain'. That's a time-bomb form of justice."
"I'll be there on May 2 to understand what new things I'm facing," added Basso. "My DNA? I've already given my permission to everybody, my team and even to the anti-doping investigators."
Basso won't be the only one facing CONI on May 2. It was announced today that Michele Scarponi has also been summoned to appear. His appointment is at 8:30 a.m., Basso's at 1:30 that afternoon.