On the eve of the 90th Giro d’Italia, Race Director Angelo Zomegnan did not mince his words. Speaking about what might be called the ‘Basso effect’ in an interview with l’Equipe, he likened the current Giro champion’s doping confessions earlier this week to a “decapitation” of the event’s credibility. “It’s a terrible blow to suffer but I want to remain positive,” he said. “The difference between this and the aftermath of both the Heras Vuelta affair and the events at Strasbourg in 2006 [the Tour de France exclusions of Basso and Ullrich] is that this time the teams have taken onboard the gravity of the situation.” Zomegnan, however, did not hide his fears that there could be more doping exposs to come. “Nobody can be certain about anything,” he said. “I can’t exclude the possibility of another [doping] episode.” He went on to align himself with the position adopted by Italian Olympic and World road race champion Paolo Bettini who wants the International Olympic Committee to use its considerable clout to help resolve the doping issue once and for all. “I agree with him. We cannot continue like this, having the 6.5 million spectators who line the Giro route not knowing whether the winner is actually the best rider. It is demoralising because I cannot see an individual or organisation capable of reversing the [doping] trend. “In life the best gamekeeper is a former poacher. He knows all the tricks. So we need to find out if there are some ex-poachers who are prepared to become good gamekeepers. At present there are no rules which allow the prosecution of team bosses – it’s the riders who pay.”
Basso has seriously harmed the Giro’s credibility, says event’s boss.