Ivan Basso has confessed to being involved in the Operaci¢n Puerto blood doping affair at a hearing
The Spanish Operaci¢n Puerto doping investigation claimed yet another high-profile cycling scalp on Monday as former Discovery Channel and CSC rider Ivan Basso admitted involvement in the doping scheme allegedly run by Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. After resigning from Discovery last week, Basso gave evidence to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). On Monday CONI released a statement that said, “The office of the anti-doping power of attorney has listened today to Ivan Basso… and he has widely admitted his own responsibilities relative to Operation Puerto and has supplied the maximum collaboration in order to clear up the relative facts of his involvement.” Basso appears to be hoping that confessing his involvement will lead to a reduced sentence if CONI finds him guilty of a breach of the WADA anti-doping code. However, UCI president Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews.com this was impossible. “There is no provision for a reduced sentence,” McQuaid said. “The WADA rules apply and the minimum sentence is two years, whether it is for admittance or non-admittance of an offence.” Nevertheless, the Basso camp believes it has acted correctly. “We are calm and aware we have done the right thing,” Basso’s lawyer Massimo Martelli told Gazzetta dello Sport. “If Ivan has done what he has done it is because he loves his sport. We looked each other in the eyes and we said to each other that it was a case of lifting this weight off our backs, from our conscience.” Martelli said there was likely to be a news conference on Tuesday, possibly in Milan.