By Greg Johnson
Massimo Martelli, the lawyer of embattled professional cyclist Ivan Basso, has said that while his 29 year-old client has confessed to being involved with Operación Puerto he won't be naming others involved in the case. The revelation comes just hours after the reigning Giro d'Italia winner admitted to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) that he was involved in the Spanish blood doping scandal.
"This kind of activity was carried out individually," Martelli told AP. "He never saw or heard of other riders [being involved.]"
While Basso's actual admission to the CONI enquiry is not known, due to the transcript of the meeting being sealed, the organisation issued a press release overnight stating:
"The office of the anti-doping power of attorney has listened today to Ivan Basso (…) and he has widely admitted his own responsibilities relative to Operation Puerto and has supplied the maximum collaboration in order to clear up the relative facts of his involvement."
Basso, who was pardoned by request from the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team last week, could be banned for up to two years if found guilty of breaking article 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code regarding, "use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method".
"He wasn't feeling good and he wasn't calm, and he wanted to lift a weight off his conscience," Martelli told the press. "During the interrogation he was shaking, but then he regained his composure to show great character."
While it looks unlikely Basso will name others involved in the doping ring, Italian Cycling Federation president Renato Di Rocco is hopeful that others among the 56 riders named when the case broke last year will follow the Italian's lead and confess.
"I hope that his voice will not be a solitary one," Di Rocco told APTV. "It is a voice that comes from a prominent figure in this sport and this makes me feel optimistic about the future. I hope that his sacrifice will not be in vain."