"I still have many more Tour de Frances ahead of me," said Ivan Basso to Italian Radio 24. The rider from Varese was speaking out after recently having the case against him, in connection to Operación Puerto, shelved by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).
"I am 29 years-old, I still have four or five seasons at the top level," Basso continued. "I am happy because it is all finished and I am able to return to my work. Clearly, there remains sorrow for not racing the last Tour."
Basso was linked to the investigation of Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, dubbed Operación Puerto, in late June, and not allowed to start the Tour de France only one day before the departure in Strasbourg, June 30.
"The day started normal for me," Basso reflected on the events of before the Tour. "I went out on the bicycle for an hour. When I returned to the hotel in Strasbourg, they told me that there was a problem; in the night their arrived a dossier and they advised me to leave immediately without making a statement. Probably, in these hours, we did not act in the best manner. There was a lot of confusion; it was the case of examining this dossier with great attention and, effectively, if there existed a premise then I would be sent away."
Ivan Basso, along with the other riders mentioned in the dossier sent from Spain, was asked to leave the Tour. Basso's Danish team, CSC, started the French race with only eight riders.
"There were a lot of difficulties stemming from the management of the situation in this period," continued Basso. "I had the good sense to never leave my bicycle aside; I always had the motivation to push forward. I never thought my career was finished. I got on my bike with the idea in mind to return in the last part of the season. I continued to work to return and race."
Basso, recently departed from Team CSC, has yet to announce his new team for 2007.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto