Basso optimistic; officials need more time

It is not yet clear whether Ivan Basso's case - implication in the doping affair around Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes - will be dropped. Even after the second hearing since August 30 in front of the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping commission (CONI) on Friday, the currently suspended CSC rider will have to continue to wait for a verdict.

"It's been four months that I've been in this situation. For the time being, nothing has changed," Basso told AP after the closed hearing at Rome's Olympic Stadium. The 2006 Giro d'Italia winner, who was denied participation in the Tour de France this July as the so-called Operación Puerto broke, has requested that the inquiry into his alleged use of banned substances be shelved for lack of evidence. Francesco Cosenza, head of the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping commission said it needed more time to evaluate the case, possibly days or weeks.

"I'm awaiting the decision with confidence," said Basso, who continued to train through his suspension, even riding out with the Italian national team last week before the World Championships. "I've always been optimistic, I've answered all the questions."

Basso's lawyer, Massimo Martelli, said that the rider was not under investigation in Spain. "We proved that the documents sent by the International Cycling Union represent great discrepancies with reality," Martelli added.

As to whether he will immediately return to racing if he is cleared, Basso told Reuters, "I'm still a CSC rider and my contract lasts for another two years. After the sentence has been announced there will be a meeting between me and team to decide what happens in the future. I've talked to Bjarne Riis in the last few weeks but we haven't talked a lot because there hasn't been any need. There's a lot of confusion and speculation about my relationship with Riis but we've agreed to talk after the sentence."

A representative of Danish team CSC, which suspended Basso, also took part in the hearing, which lasted over an hour.


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Images by AFP Photo

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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