Ivan Basso exclusive: Discovering the Basso era
Since leaving Team CSC late last season, as a result of the fallout over the Operación Puerto investigation, 2006 Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso has remained focused on training and largely behind closed doors, save for a press conference to announce his signing by the Discovery Channel ProTour team. Now, on the eve of Disco's media day at its Solvang, California training camp, Basso has broken his silence in an exclusive interview with Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney, who spoke to the Italian in a rare one-on-one interview in Milan, Italy prior to his departure for the camp.
In the interview, Basso did not come back on the allegations that he had been in contact with Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, currently under investigation by a Madrid court. The Italian had been cleared of suspicion - for the time being - by the Italian Olympic Committee on October 12, before the Italian cycling federation officially shelved the case on October 27, 2006.
When asked if he still wanted to prove his innocence to the public, Basso answered, "I don't have to show anything to anybody. If I want to show something, that would be the first mistake. Who do I have to show something to?"
The now-Discovery Channel rider never stopped training during the time he wasn't allowed to race last year, and thus will make his come-back in very decent form this spring. The 29 year-old is eager to return inside the peloton, but at the same holds his horses. "I'm feeling very balanced," he said. "Because there is no reason to be demotivated, nor to be super-motivated. It's a good thing to be balanced because each side of the scale, the negative and the positive, can cause you to make mistakes. The excessive desire to do something, or less desire... you can be so motivated that you will try to do too much in the early season races and then you will pay for it in the races that count later on."
To read more about Basso's first impressions of his new team, the differences between Johan Bruyneel and Bjarne Riis, and how Lance Armstrong greeted his former Tour de France rival when the two saw each other again for the first time after the 2005 podium in Paris, click here.