Giro d’Italia: Basso pledges he is clean after Zoncolan victory
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Giro d’Italia: Basso pledges he is clean after Zoncolan victory

by Conal Andrews at 7:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Doping
Nibali is the Italian for the future

Ivan BassoIvan Basso’s storming victory yesterday on Monte Zoncolan, one of the toughest mountains in cycling, delighted his fans but also led to the inevitable raising of eyebrows by some. He served a doping suspension after being implicated in Operacion Puerto and since his return, has never reached the same level as before.

Basso pledged to do things in an ethical way and has acted openly, working with Aldo Sassi who is generally regarded as being a clean coach. The Liquigas rider promised yesterday that his dominant victory was bona fide.

"My hematocrit values, training mileage, the cols that I've climbed, everything is easy to check," said Basso, who has displayed his readings online since his return.. "I follow the strict line of the team, and that line is also my own."

Sassi is currently battling a brain tumour but said before the race that he is sure that Basso and another one of his riders, Cadel Evans, are both competing cleanly.

“Cycling has improved a lot,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Things have really cleaned up. If either Ivan or Cadel win the Giro, we'll have the proof that you can win without doping. I totally trust them and I'm certain they wouldn't do anything to hurt me.”

Basso beat Evans by one minute 19 seconds and Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) by one minute 30 seconds. He suggested that his good form is an indication that the sport is going in the right direction.

"I’ve been riding for 27 years. I never won a lot of races, but I’ve always won. I realize also that I am not getting any younger, but talent now makes champions. That’s the same for my teammate Vincenzo Nibali, the Italian of the future.”

He is now in a position to win the race overall, having moved to within three minutes 33 seconds of David Arroyo’s Maglia Rosa. Of the main contenders, he is the best placed; the days ahead will show if he can pull off his second Giro success or not.


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