One day after the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) recommended suspensions for Ivan Basso and Michele Scarponi both riders have been suspended from competition by the Italian cycling federation (FCI), it was announced Tuesday.
Although Basso confessed to "attempted doping", he hasn't cooperated as fully as expected according to CONI prosecutor Ettore Torri, who believes the 2006 Giro d'Italia winner has been under pressure from sponsors and advisors, despite no longer being part of a team.
"During the second questioning, he seemed willing to cooperate and give out names and concrete elements," Torri told AP at a news conference in Rome. "Then, he was clearly approached not only by his defense lawyers, but sponsors and technical directors who have pushed him to backtrack. What we have is concrete, but not as exhaustive as we hoped for."
Scarponi also admitted his involvement in the Operación Puerto affair, but like Basso, denied actually doping.
Torri believes that possible retaliation from other cyclists may be preventing Puerto implicated riders from confessing all the details of their involvement with Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and his blood doping network.
Although FCI has yet to issue sanctions against either Basso or Scarponi, both are likely to face a two year ban followed by a further two years exclusion from ProTour teams. UCI president Pat McQuaid recently said there would not be reduced suspensions for riders who confessed or collaborated with prosecutors.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto