By Susan Westemeyer
Various members of the cycling community have expressed their views on Ivan Basso's signed confession that he was a client of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, according to eurosport.de, ranging from calls for further confessions to support for the Italian rider.
Francesco Moser, head of the rider's union and himself a former pro rider, said, "With his back to the wall, he could no longer deny it.... Now we have the chance to completely open up the Puerto affair. Now all the names must be delivered from Spain. After the Ullrich case, we can now really explain the whole affair. I hope the riders understand today that an era has ended."
"This should be a lesson and perhaps an example for other suspects," said Rolf Aldag, Sport Director at Team T-Mobile. "The public pressure surely played a part in Basso's co-operation."
Most of the voices out of Italy showed support for Basso and promised help for his future. "It is important not to leave Ivan alone now. He is a good guy and not a rascal," said Italian national coach Franco Ballerini. "Basso has accepted his responsibility, but he is not the only one responsible. He will have to pay for his mistakes, that is OK, but he is not a gangster."
"I believe in his ability to survive a difficult situation like this," said Gerolsteiner Giro captain Davide Rebellin, who also looked forward to the upcoming race. "Without him, the Giro will be more open than in the past."
The Giro organiser, Angelo Zomegnan, also praised Basso, while considering the effect on his race. "Ivan did a brave thing. Now we have to give him some peace and quiet. Right off I don't see his decision having any effect on the upcoming Giro."
Basso has at least one offer, if he decides -- and is allowed -- to return to the professional peloton, from Ivano Fanini, of Amore e Vita, who has in the past signed and supported riders who have done their time for doping. "This is an historical moment for Italian cycling," he proclaimed. "For the first time, an active champion in the person of Ivan Basso had broken cycling's Omerta. That is a big step forward and a turning point. Before this it wasn't possible to admit to doping. In this sport, riders and others must obey the law of silence, like in a sect. They had to remain silent even in the face of the evidence -- that was the system."