Basso claims he raced clean

Monday, May 7, 2007 11.00pm
Ivan Basso, who has admitted his involvement in Operaci¢n Puerto, says he only "attempted" to dope h
The day after his appearance before the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) anti-doping commission, Ivan Basso began attempting to rebuild both his career and his reputation. At a press conference in Milan today, the 2006 Giro d'Italia winner claimed that he turned to the services of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes - the man at the centre of the Operaci¢n Puerto blood-doping allegations - "in a moment of weakness." Basso insisted, however, that in competition he has always raced legitimately. "I have never taken banned substances and I have never employed blood doping," he said. "All my wins have been clean and I intend to return to riding and the job I love once I have served my ban." Basso says that he has admitted to making an "attempt" to dope himself for the 2006 Tour de France, but draws a distinction between this and having actually taken doping products. He nonetheless acknowledged that in the eyes of the authorities there could be no distinction between the two. The press conference also provided a further insight into what Basso told CONI's anti-doping investigation yesterday, the precise details of which have not been released. His lawyer, Massimo Martelli, stated that his client had not only admitted his guilt but had provided details of the methods used by Dr. Fuentes and the circumstances surrounding his involvement with the Spaniard. Basso himself talked about his eventual return to the professional cycling fold and his belief that he would be accepted by his fellow riders once he had served his ban. It was perhaps with this in mind that the Italian insisted to reporters he knew nothing about the involvement of other riders with Dr. Fuentes and said that he had told CONI that he could only speak about his own situation.

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