Riis: "Basso needs to prove his innocence to us"

With the latest claims about Tyler Hamilton's alleged drug use while riding for CSC in 2003 already

With the latest claims about Tyler Hamilton's alleged drug use while riding for CSC in 2003 already
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Following the claims by Danish newspaper Politiken on Sunday that banned former Phonak leader Tyler Hamilton allegedly used a variety of doping products - including insulin, growth hormone, EPO and testosterone - while riding for the CSC team in 2003, CSC boss Bjarne Riis has told the same newspaper that he has concerns for the team's image as well as his own. With CSC's latest team leader, Ivan Basso - who was brought in as a replacement for Hamilton, who left the team to join Phonak in 2004 - currently suspended after he was withdrawn from this year's Tour de France just the day before it started after becoming part of the investigation into Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, Riis is doubly concerned. "I'm fighting to create a clean team, and thus a clean sport - that's my goal. And if, even if Basso is cleared, there is even the slightest doubt remaining, there will be a cloud over the whole team and over me. That's not good enough," Riis said. "We have big problems with our credibility, yes, and I have big problems with mine because of this [Basso] case and the revelation about Tyler Hamilton's doping in 2003, and so that's why we'll do everything we can to win it back." Riis and Basso had apparently remained in contact during the Tour and in the weeks that followed, but, as time passes, it would become increasingly difficult to reintegrate him into the squad, which has reformed around Carlos Sastre as leader, both in the Tour and in the upcoming Vuelta. "Ivan Basso not only has to prove his innocence in the case; he also needs to prove his innocence to us," Riis said of his protg. "I find it hard to see a future for Basso at CSC - unless he is totally cleared. By that I mean that he has never been in contact with Fuentes, and that it isn't him who figures on the doctor's lists, either. "If Basso has been in contact with Fuentes," Riis continued, "then he has lied to me, and let down the team and our values. And that would be it for him at CSC."
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