Ivan Basso has wished Alberto Contador all the best as he fights to clear his name following his positive for Clenbuterol during this year’s Tour de France.
The Giro d’Italia winner can empathise with Contador because he was caught up in Operacion Puerto after winning the 2006 Giro d’Italia. He initially denied doping and rode with Lance Armstrong’s Discovery Channel team in 2007. However he then confessed he was planning to use bags of blood stored in Madrid. He was banned for two years and returned to racing at the end of 2008 with the Liquigas team.
“I hope Alberto can resolve things as soon and as well as possible. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty,” Basso told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica during a sponsor event in Rome with clothing company Lotto.
“I’m not his defence lawyer and I don’t know the facts of the case but I consider him the strongest stage race rider. My problem isn’t knowing if he’ll be at the Tour de France. I’m just focusing on being in the possible form I can be for the Grand Boucle.”
Basso admitted that the continuing doping scandals were a problem for cycling.
“It’s not nice to keep hearing of all these problems but it’s also important to underline the fact that cycling is the sport doing more than anyone else in the fight against doping,” he said.
The Italian has already began training for the 2011 season and will head to Passo San Pellegrino in the Italian Dolomites for a get-together with his Liquigas-Cannondale teammates.