ROCK RACING TO HIRE BASSO?
Controversial American cycling team Rock Racing might be about to get even more controversial. Mario Cipollini, who made his comeback with the team at the Tour of California, and may be taking on a management role with Rock Racing, has told Cycle Sport that they are considering hiring Ivan Basso when his ban ends.
Basso, who is serving a doping suspension after admitting involvement in Operacion Puerto, is eligible to race from October this year, and Cipollini told Cycle Sport that he’d be an ideal addition to the team.
“It’s natural to think that Basso could be the right team leader when his ban ends because he’s a good stage race rider,” said Cipollini.
“I’d also like to have Daniele Bennati in the team because he’s going to win a lot in the next few years.”
Rock Racing attracted adverse publicity at the Tour of California when three of their riders were barred from competing by the race organisation. Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Botero and Oscar Sevilla were deemed to be under investigation for doping infractions, but team boss Michael Ball brought them to stage starts in order to protest the decision. Cipollini criticised Ball’s actions, saying that he’d warned his boss of the possible consequences.
“I told Ball three months ago that it wasn’t a good idea to sign them,” he told Cycle Sport.
For the rest of the interview, and for more features and news from the world of professional cycling, see the new edition of Cycle Sport, available on March 6.