Not without controversy
Ivan Basso, last seen in action in Milano on May 28, will be back in the peloton in 2007 riding for his new team, Discovery Channel. On Saturday, December 2, in Milano, Italy, the rider from Varese was officially introduced by Johann Bruyneel just hours before the presentation of the 2007 Giro d'Italia. The 29 year-old is out of the red and white colours of CSC, distanced from former manager Bjarne Riis and allowed to resume racing after Operación Puerto, an investigation which consumed the latter-half of 2006.
In the blue colours of American squad Discovery Channel, Basso will point towards a come-back of sorts; redeeming himself in the Tour de France, where he was not allowed to start in 2006.
Bruyneel has the know-how to deliver a rider to the Champs-Élysées in the Maillot Jaune; he did it seven years with Texan Lance Armstrong. But just how will Basso fit in to the Discovery system? "I feel very well, because I just spent the month of November in vacation," lightly noted Basso, dressed in a dark blue shirt with the Discovery Channel logo. "After many month difficulties, this is a relaxed start and with a new team. It gives me great sense of security. Now I will be able to face the objectives that I was not able to face this year ."
Lance Armstrong, the team's ex-leader, originally announced Basso's arrival to the team on November 8, saying "It's done". With the Italian, the team had signed a bonafide winner of the Tour de France; Basso had finish third in 2004 and second in 2005 edition. "[The team] always gave me respect. It felt right to join Discovery Channel. I have the guarantees to win the races that I want win. I wanted to sign with them back when Armstrong was on the team, but for other reasons I stayed with CSC and continued my work with Riis.
Read the complete Ivan Basso back on the road - with Discovery Channel news feature.