Shorts: Basso, Verbrugghe, Hamilton, Wellington

Riis denies rumours of Basso moving elsewhere, Verburgghe set for six-month layoff after crash, Hami

Riis denies rumours of Basso moving elsewhere, Verburgghe set for six-month layoff after crash, Hami


According to Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, the relationship between CSC team boss Bjarne Riis and team leader Ivan Basso have reached crisis point since the Italian was ejected from the Tour more than two weeks ago. Gazzetta reports that there is a good chance of Basso leaving CSC, with Discovery Channel his most likely destination. Riis has denied this is going to happen, telling the press at the Tour: "His departure to Discovery Channel is no more than a rumour circulating at the race. I don't have Basso on the end of the line all day every day, but we are regularly in contact."

In the meantime, Basso's situation with regard to the Operacion Puerto case in which he is implicated remains unclear. The Italian Olympic committee are still waiting to receive the full 500-page Puerto dossier from the International Cycling Union, and there is still no word from either Riis or Basso's lawyer as to whether the Italian will submit to DNA testing in an attempt to clear himself of alleged blood doping. Basso is now training for the Vuelta, with Riis saying he's happy with the Italian targeting that race.

- Rik Verbrugghe is expected to be out of action for at least six months after breaking the femur in his left leg when he crashed into and over a roadside barrier 40km from the end of yesterday's stage into Gap. The Belgian rider has already had a pin placed in the bone during an operation last night. "Rik will ride again, I've promised him that," said Cofidis team doctor Christophe Cacciuttolo, who added: "He will have to spend several weeks in hospital and then undergo some specialist rehabilitation work." There is some good news for Verbrugghe as Cofidis manager Eric Boyer revealed his contract would be extended to 2008. "His accident changes nothing," said Boyer.

- Tyler Hamilton has revealed that he is hoping to make his return to competitive cycling at the world championships in Salzburg when his two-year ban for blood doping ends on September 22. Hamilton will need to earn selection for the US team, but has been training hard and is reported to be in good shape. "I miss racing. I miss it a lot," he told the Daily Camera of Boulder. "I didn't think I would miss it this much. But that's a good thing. I'll be ready," he said. The road race championship takes place in Salzburg on September 24.

- Bike New Zealand has received confirmation from the UCI that the Wellington round of the women's World Cup has been dropped from the 12-race series in 2007. BikeNZ events manager Ted Jones said the UCI had made the decision because of the huge demand from cities wishing to host a round of the series. "It is disappointing that Wellington has not been awarded a round in 2007. We had some exciting initiatives planned to increase participation and spectator fun next year but that will now have to go on hold. We have been fortunate to host the world's best female road cyclists over the last two years but will now have to wait at least until 2008 to welcome them back to Wellington," said Jones.

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