By Anthony Tan in Strasbourg Shortly before 2pm CEDST (Central European Daylight Saving Time) Friday...
By Anthony Tan in Strasbourg
Shortly before 2pm CEDST (Central European Daylight Saving Time) Friday afternoon, Team CSC manager Bjarne Riis and spokesperson Brian Nygaard walked into the salle de presse (press room) in Strasbourg's Palais de la Musique et de Congres to deliver a statement and answer questions. But with the room soon morphing into a boxing arena with around 200 journalists and photographers all wanting a piece of the action, the crowd moved to the much larger conference de presse in the Auditorium Schweitzer.
"Maybe most of you have heard already. We had a meeting with all the teams this morning, and in that meeting, we made a decision - I made a decision - that Ivan would not participate in the Tour," began Riis.
"Of course, it's because of the story [of what happened] today, and we believe that it's not possible for one rider to focus on the Tour, and, at the same time, defend himself. So we believe that it's best for him [Basso], for everybody, that he's not going to do the Tour.
"If I let Ivan do the Tour, I can see all of you here - and there's a lot more outside - there will be no race for him, because he will be hunted, day and night. It won't be good for Ivan, it won't be good for the team, and it certainly won't be good for the sport."
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Tour de France