Prudhomme: "Basso racing the Tour de France?"

Can Basso recapture his 2006 Giro d'Italia form

Can Basso recapture his 2006 Giro d'Italia form (Image credit: Charlie Woodcock)

Christian Prudhomme is in Doha for the sixth Tour of Qatar, an ASO organized event, the same company who owns and organizes cycling's big one, the Tour de France. The Frenchman is taking over as Director from Jean-Marie Leblanc and has his thoughts on the turbulent 2006 season and whether or not certain riders, namely Ivan Basso, will ride in the 2007 edition of the Tour.

"Basso racing in the Tour de France," Prudhomme questioned to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I know that all Italians are interested in this. It is a valid question but now I am not able to respond. We will see."

The Italian was not allowed to start the 2006 edition due to his alleged involvement in Operación Puerto but has since been cleared by his national federation, the FCI, and signed by Discovery Channel, whom he is currently training with in California. "Operación Puerto is not closed. I don't have the pieces to confirm it, but I have the feeling that there will more revelations."

Prudhomme heads the race that still does not have a clear winner after six months time, resulting from Floyd Landis' positive result for testosterone. "It is very difficult, and I hope before the Grand Départ in London, July 7, that we will know something," he continued. "I believe we will be forced to leave a blank for 2006 in the official [2007] guide."

There were also recent problems for the runner-up, Oscar Pereiro. Recently it was suggested that his documents were not in order for the use of the asthma drug salbutamol. Prudhomme believes that this issue blown out of proportion, especially since the Spaniard was cleared by French anti-doping authorities. "At maximum they deserve a slap on the wrist for not having their documents in order. We and the UCI are in agreement. They have made this an exaggerated case."

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