Ivan Basso and his team director Bjarne Riis are expected to decide soon whether or not the cleared Italian rider will remain within his Danish CSC team or not. After the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) archived Basso's case of alleged doping use in relation with the Spanish Puerto affair, the 2006 Giro d'Italia winner is free to race again - and maybe to find a new team for the next season.
"Today, many (managers) would like to have me in their teams," Basso told L'Equipe. The 29 year-old has offers from both Discovery Channel and Milram, but insisted that he would like to stay with CSC. "It's my team," he added. "I think I contributed largely to its structuring."
Regarding his relationship with Riis, which deteriorated sensibly since the start of the Tour de France as the two had not spoken for four months when they met last Thursday in Lugano, Switzerland, Basso said that he had "no hard feelings. His silence hurt me very much at first, but then, I digested it. (...) We are in the situation of couple that has had a few problems and that's trying to put the pieces back together."
The Italian also said that CONI anti-doping commission president Franco Cosenza, who decided to file the case, did not do this "on the simple declaration of the Madrid judge, who said that the documents of the Guardia Civil could not be used. (He) did not base his decision on the 39 pages transmitted in July to the Tour organisation, but on the a much more complete dossier, to which the UCI added its arguments."
Basso further explained why he chose not to undergo DNA testing even though he had vowed to do anything in his might to prove his innocence when the affair started. "My attorney would not have been opposed to the principle of DNA research, but the situation wasn't clear enough," he said. "There is too much confusion around the investigation. We don't know if we can trust the state of conservation of the blood bags seized by the investigators."
Finally, the Tour de France contender said that he was "convinced" he would race the Grand Tour again, and "win it. I even take bets on it." But Basso has not yet even been invited to the presentation of the Tour de France, scheduled October 26 at the Palais des Congrès in Paris.