Basso to Discovery; Millar; Davitamon; Euskaltel

Basso signs with Discovery; Cofidis trial; Davitamon-Lotto renamed; New doctors for Euskaltel

Basso signs with Discovery; Cofidis trial; Davitamon-Lotto renamed; New doctors for Euskaltel
Basso to Discovery in 2007 By Jeff Jones Ivan Basso has decided on his team for next season: Discovery Channel. The Italian grand tour star has signed a two year deal with Johan Bruyneel's team worth more than _1.5 million a season, reported La Gazzetta dello Sport. Basso is arguably one of the only riders who could fill the shoes of Lance Armstrong, who retired in 2005. Rumours that Basso would join Discovery have been circulating for months. Procycling recently learned that he would take part in Discovery's team camp in Austin at the beginning of December. Basso himself was in Japan last week for the Cycle Mode trade show, but kept quiet about his future team. Finally, it was Lance Armstrong who revealed to La Gazzetta that the deal was done. Basso joins Discovery after leaving Team CSC, which he has ridden for since 2004. He achieved his biggest successes of his career so far under the guidance of Bjarne Riis, winning the 2006 Giro d'Italia and finishing second and third in the 2005 and 2004 Tour de France. Many tipped him to take the honours in this year's Tour, until Operacion Puerto forced him and several other top riders out on the eve of the race. In accordance with the ProTour code of ethics, Team CSC suspended Basso pending further information from Operacion Puerto. At the end of October, he was cleared to race by the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) anti-drug commission and the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI). By that stage, his relationship had cooled with CSC, and he already parted ways with Riis. Basso's new-found freedom opened the doors for him to race for a ProTour team again. Discovery was the obvious option, as both Bruyneel and Armstrong had been interested in Basso for years. It was also the team with the budget to spend on someone of Basso's calibre. The one obstacle in Basso's path could come from the UCI. Procycling sources tell us that cycling's governing body is not happy with Basso joining Bruyneel's team. This is because there is still a question mark above his head from Operacion Puerto. Although the riders named in Puerto have - for the most part - been cleared by their various national federations, the Spanish investigation has not yet finished. When it does, the federations will be allowed to act on Puerto information. And if the UCI feels that any rider deserves a sanction, then it can take them to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Cofidis trial: Millar did it for the money Scottish cyclist David Millar has told a French court that he took drugs, "because my job was to finish in a high placing," according to a report from The Guardian. "You take drugs because you are a prisoner of money and glory," he added. Millar was giving evidence in the second day of the trial in which he and nine others associated with the Cofidis team are accused of traficking or recieving doping products. The riders involved, including Millar, are accused of "acquiring and possessing banned substances", while three others - a former team soigneur, a mechanic and a pharmacist - are accusing of supplying. Millar said that the pressure to succeed led to him using drugs. "When I saw that when I was bad, the team was terrible, I had the responsibility to become a 'real professional,'" the International Herald Tribune reports him as saying. Millar said he travelled to Italy in 2001 with then team-mate and co-accused Massimiliano Lelli and there learned how to inject EPO. Davitamon-Lotto renamed Predictor-Lotto Belgian ProTour team Davitamon-Lotto will undergo a name change next year to Predictor-Lotto. The change does not involve a new sponsor. Rather, Omega Pharma boss Marc Coucke is choosing to promote his company's pregnancy tests than its range of food supplements. The colour of the jerseys will be pink - the same as the colour of the packaging on the pregnancy tests. Coucke told the Belgian media that the Davitamon sponsorship had done its job. Since it started in 2002, Davitamon's turnover had increased from _10 million to _24 million in 2005. "After four years of cycling sponsorship, Davitamon has met all its targets for brand awareness. The brand can grow under its own power from now on." After buying Predictor for _105.7 million in 2000, Coucke wants to push it along in the next five years. Its current turnover is _23 million, but Coucke wants to double this through the sponsorship. New doctors for Euskaltel The Euskaltel-Euskadi team has added two doctors to its squad for next season. The new additions are Guillermo Cuesta and Sergio Qu¡lez, who will join Eduardo Gonz lez Salvador as team physicians. The trio will look after the members of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team, as well as the Orbea continental team.

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