Basso: "I am Birillo"

Ivan Basso with his lawyer, Massimo Martelli,

Ivan Basso with his lawyer, Massimo Martelli, (Image credit: AFP)

Fighting against rivals like Lance Armstrong, Damiano Cunego and Gilberto Simoni for hours in the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia did nothing to prepare Ivan Basso for the Rome inquisition. Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) antidoping prosecutor Ettore Torri put the 29 year-old between a rock and a hard place that forced a desired confession.

"Yes, I am Birillo. It was me that suggested to be called this way," said the former Discovery Channel rider, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. After months of denials to any links with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and his offices that were raided in Operación Puerto Ivan Basso revealed that the name 'Birillo' that appeared on bags of blood sequestered were of significance. Since late last June, he had denied that this name was the name of his dog.

Torri had presented Basso with two distinct tones. He showed Basso that CONI was unwilling to waiver with its new pieces of evidence that it received by persistence. "We kept knocking on its [Spanish magistrate] door and at the end they opened. It is sending the materials to us in Italy," said Torri in April. He contrasted this strong stance with an escape path for Basso; confess and maybe CONI and the Italian cycling federation (FCI) will go easier on its punishment.

Yesterday, May 7, Basso signed ten pages that were prepared by CONI. It is not known exactly what is in those ten pages beside that part of it included an admission to a relationship with Fuentes and his collaborators, not all Spanish. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Basso said that he did it all in Madrid and did not list names of other riders but over the next days more information could be revealed. Such as, what was the path that led Basso to Fuentes?

Basso indicated that he did not re-inject blood for the 2006 Giro, and that it was to be used for the 2006 Tour, which he was barred from racing. However, the proof that contradicts earlier statements could lead CONI to believe that he is simply trying to protect his Giro victory. An intercepted SMS from Basso's number to Fuentes' reveals that there was a good level understanding without saying many words "Everything is fine, talk soon."

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