UCI insists on two years
Ivan Basso continues to ride his bike. Yesterday he completed five hours in the Alps' foothills near Lago Maggiore according La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 29 year-old from Varese was not in the colours of Team CSC, which he had to distance himself from after being linked to Operación Puerto, or in the colours of Discovery Channel, which he was forced to quit just prior to admitting his involvement with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. Instead, he was dressed all in black. The colour could be appropriate given that today he faces the Italian cycling federation (FCI) disciplinary commission.
The cyclist will travel with his lawyer, Massimo Martelli, to Rome for a hearing with FCI judge Vincenzo Ioffredi, which is to be held at 12:30.
Thanks to the work of Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutors, Basso admitted that the five sacks of blood labelled "Birillo" were his, officially involving him in Operación Puerto and signalling his intentions to dope. He gave his confession to CONI's Ettore Torri on May 7 but, the following day, at a press conference in Milan, he tried to lessen his involvement the Puerto affair.
Torri took into account Basso's "moderate" contribution to CONI's investigation and he recommended a slight reduction in penalty, three months, for a total of 21 months. The FCI will have to decide whether it will take into account the six months of 'stop' during 2006, after Basso left Team CSC. Therefore, the rider could return to action in September 2008 or at the start of 2009.
Last night, the UCI sent a letter to the FCI President Renato Di Rocco. "There are not the elements to give Basso a reduction," it stated. It continued, according to AGR, that it is not possible "to reduce the sanction of two years" based upon "article 233 RAD, which obliges a suspension of two years." The letter went to state that if a discount was given by the FCI then the UCI would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).