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Basso-Discovery agreement causes controversy

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Roberto Amadio

Roberto Amadio (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Patrick Lefèvere

Patrick Lefèvere (Image credit: Luc Claessen)

Team managers respond while DNA meeting looms

The announcement of 2006 Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso signing with the ProTour team of Johann Bruyneel, Discovery Channel, has caused a stir amongst the managers and directors. The Italian, although cleared to ride by his federation last month, is still associated, if only by name, with Operación Puerto.

Further complicating matters is Basso's stance on submitting his DNA for testing; his lawyer, Massimo Martelli, said recently that "... any declaration for the necessity of blood tests for DNA or other values we consider to be an illegal and inadmissible intrusion to his private life."

"Every team can manage themselves how they believe," commented Liquigas team manager Roberto Amadio to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I think that Bruyneel, to be honest with the other teams, should implement other tests, like asking of the athletes to make available their DNA to remove any residual doubts. ... Anyway, I am pleased for Basso."

Gianluigi Stanga, team manager of Milram, was concerned about the DNA submission issue now being elevated due to Basso signing with a ProTour team. "We need to understand if Basso was asked to make available his DNA or not," noted the manager from Bergamo. "If not then it is clear that Discovery did not adhere to the verbal agreement that the teams had made at the meeting in Paris at the end of October. The problem now becomes more amplified and will also involve the organizers of the grand tours."

Giuseppe Saronni, team manager at Lampre-Fondital, overseeing riders like Damiano Cunego, noted to the Italian paper, "It would be better that Bruyneel clarifies. Saying that with the signing of Basso certain agreements have been made. I have faith that it was this way [the contract was made], otherwise it would be bad."

"We can't comment on the Basso case without knowing the details," said Christian Frommert, director of sport communications for T-Mobile, on "But we are still worried as to whether the sport will be able to effectively fight against doping. We need firm alliances for that."

French sports paper, L'Equipe, which has close ties to ASO (organizers of the Tour de France), asked whether "Basso and Discovery are sure that July 7 they will be at the start in London?" The paper indicated that perhaps the Tour organizers could snub Discovery Channel, not allowing them to compete in the 2007 event.

It is important to note that although there was a gentlemen's agreement in Paris on October 25 to implement DNA collection there has been no official structure put in place to handle the samples.

"I will not comment on this," said Lefèvere regarding Basso signing with Discovery Channel. "I am glad we are in the winter and we have some months to see what is going on."

Lefèvere, Team Manager of Quick-Step and president of the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP), will be in Genova, Switzerland today for a meeting regarding DNA collection. The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA, represented by Cédric Vasseur) will meet with the AIGCP and UCI to discuss the this new and developing subject.

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

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

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