By Gregor Brown
Ivan Basso was visited by anti-doping inspectors Wednesday, July 4, for a surprise 'out of competition' control. The 29 year-old Italian, suspended June 15 for two years, was visited at his home in Cassano Magnago for a control ordered by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on the behalf of UCI and WADA.
"Ivan is out training," said his wife Micaela according to La Gazzetta dello Sport's Luigi Perna. Basso has not raced since March 30, the last day of the Castilla y Leon, but he continues to train even though he can't return to racing until 2009 (October 24, 2008 the disqualification expires - ed.) due to his suspension by the Italian cycling federation (FCI) for involvement with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. CONI's investigation resulted in Basso admitting to being linked to Operación Puerto via the 'Birillo' code name.
Basso still retains his racing license with the FCI authorized by the UCI and, as such, is subjected to surprised controls. To not be controlled Basso would have to write a letter of "resignation" for his license to be annulled. However, Basso continues to complete the required UCI forms for his daily whereabouts and he has decided to continue to be subjected to quarterly blood checks at UCI-accredited laboratories even though he is not required to do this since he is not engaged as a rider.
"In my career I have never used doping products or resorted to blood transfusions," Basso claimed at the time of his admission. He was said to have only extracted blood to Fuentes but never had it transfused. "It was a weak moment, but I am aware that attempting to dope is the same as doping. I will serve my sentence and return to the work I love."