BASSO QUESTIONED AGAIN IN ROME
Italian 2006 Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso was again questioned by the Italian Olympic Committee’s doping investigators in Rome on Thursday.
While the favourites for the Giro d’Italia were getting ready for the opening team time trial on Saturday, Basso was grilled for three hour in at the Italian Olympic Committee’s headquarters near the Olympic Stadium. According to reports in the Italian press, Basso was asked to clarify details of previous statement that did not match information in the documents from Operacion Puerto.
It is the third time Basso has been to Rome to talk about his involvement in the Spanish blood doping ring. Last Wednesday he was shown the new evidence against him and then made an impromptu return to Rome on Monday to confess that he was Birillo and that the seven bags of blood found in Dr Eufemiano Fuentes' fridge were his.
After his embarrassing partial confession, it seems Basso is under pressure to reveal more about his links with Dr Fuentes and about other people who helped him or were also clients of the Spanish doctor.
In an interview in Wednesday’s Gazzetta dello Sport, Basso admitted he did not sound convincing in Tuesday’s press conference but continued to claim he never blood doped even though he work with Dr Fuentes. He has been widely ridiculed in Italy but seems determined to race again after a suspension.
Italian police are also beginning to investigate if Basso broke the doping law created in 2000. Investigating magistrates from Rome, Brescia and Bergamo are reported to have contacted the Italian Olympic Committee’s doping investigators and police in Busto Arsizio near Basso home have also formally opened an investigation.
Suspected courier Alessandro Kalc was also questioned in Rome on Thursday. The mountain bike coach from the northern town of Trieste has to explain his links to Dr Fuentes and Operacion Puerto otherwise he could be charged with drug trafficking under Italian law.