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Basso ban increased to two years
Posted on 15 June 2007 - 19:17


http://images.supersport.co.za/BassoIvan070507ConferenceAIbg.jpgBasso's ban for attempted doping has been increased to two years from 21 months, the Italian Cycling Federation said on Friday, although he can race again from October 2008 as the suspension is back-dated.

The Italian Olympic Committee, the country's anti-doping body, requested last month that the 2006 Giro d'Italia winner be suspended for 21 months after Basso admitted he had intended to commit a doping offence but had never actually done so.

The three-month discount was because Basso collaborated with the authorities but the cycling federation, responsible for the final decision, decided to punish him with the full two years laid down under International Cycling Union (UCI) rules.

Basso, widely regarded as a possible Tour de France winner, met with the federation's disciplinary commission in Rome earlier on Friday before his punishment was announced.

"I made a mistake but I have never asked for discounts or pity," the former Discovery Channel rider told reporters.

"Now I will face the consequences but I want to underline that I have said all that I know and for an athlete at my level that is not easy. I have lost everything -- the races, the contracts. I want to return to racing as soon as possible."

The 29-year-old was implicated in the Operation Puerto blood doping scandal in Spain, which broke last year after police raids in Madrid and Zaragoza found large quantities of anabolic steroids, blood-transfusion equipment and more than 200 bags of blood.

Basso was withdrawn from last year's Tour de France as one of more than 50 professional riders implicated in the investigation.

Cycling authorities have decided this period of inactivity, which was not an official ban, and a precautionary suspension already placed on Basso will count towards the two years.

He can therefore compete again from October 2008 but will miss next year's Giro and Tour.

Media have quoted officials as saying his collaboration did not go far enough to allow him a lesser sentence. Authorities were hoping for names of other riders and individuals involved in the Spanish scandal.

Basso's doping case is one of several which have severely damaged cycling's credibility. Last month, Denmark's 1996 Tour de France champion Bjarne Riis became the first rider to admit having used performance-enhancing drugs while winning an event.

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Why so sad Superman??? I think it is a great moment!  A cheat has been removed for two years!!

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