The Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) gave Ivan Basso a two-year ban for his involvement in the Operation Puerto blood-doping scandal on Friday. The 29-year-old Italian, recently dismissed from the Discovery Channel cycling team, was one of the favorites for this year’s Tour de France. He was handed his punishment at a disciplinary hearing in Rome as his peers were finishing stage 5 of the Dauphin Libr in preparation for the Tour. The suspensions Basso had already served when he was identified as a doping suspect, totaling 236 days, were deducted from the two years, meaning his ban will actually end on October 24, 2008. The ban will satisfy CONI, Italy’s Olympic Committee, who oversees all the activities of sports federations in the country, and had recommended a 21-month ban be given to the 2006 Giro d’Italia champion.
Disgraced Italian racer and former CSC and Discovery Channel captain Ivan Basso was given a two-year