WIGGINS WELCOMES BASSO SUSPENSION
Bradley Wiggins has spoken out about Ivan Basso’s suspension and made it clear that he is pleased Basso has been suspended by his Discovery Channel team.
In story on the www.bbc.co.uk website, the triple Olympic medalist and one of the favourites for the Tour de France prologue in London, was not afraid to speak out and openly criticised the Discovery Channel team.
"I think the biggest hypocrites here are Discovery. Perhaps their decision to sign Basso is about to bite them on the backside,” Wiggins was reported as saying.
"From a rider point of view, I'm delighted. The consensus in my team (Cofidis) is that we don't want any of the guys implicated to line up at the Tour de France.”
"From a cycling fan point of view, I'm pleased as well. Because the last year has been a mess. I just want to get back to talking about clean riders again.”
Wiggins finished his first ever Tour de France in 2006 but was deeply affected by the problem of doping in professional road racing and by Floyd Landis’ positive for testosterone after the American won the Tour.
"I don't think we will ever learn the full story about what happened last year with Operacion Puerto and Floyd Landis,” Wiggins said.
“Every time something comes up they get a good lawyer and it gets dragged through the courts for years.”
Few riders have spoken so forcefully about Basso’s position but Wiggins' views clearly reflected those of Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme.
"It is a responsible decision on behalf of Discovery Channel," Prudhomme said after the US-registered team suspended Basso after he was summoned to appeal before the Italian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping investigators.
"Ever since the nine bags of blood were identified as Ullrich's, it is possible to know (whose blood is in each bag). I have no doubt that the bags of blood that left Spain for Italy will provide an answer."
Prudhomme has already contacted the teams in this year's Tour to say riders implicated in the scandal will not be welcome at the race and a full announcement is expected on Saturday.
On Thursday he said several Tour de France host cities and French politicians have voiced concerns about the effects of doping scandals on the future of the Tour and made it clear cycling has to clean up its act if it is survive.