June 05, 2006
Simoni on Basso claims: Never mind...
Face to face with an investigating tribunal, Gilberto Simoni has decided that maybe Ivan Basso, facing the biggest payday of his career and carrying a photo of the newborn son to whom he had told the press he hoped to dedicate the day's stage win, didn't actually offer to sell Simoni Stage 20 at the Giro after all.
“I made some erroneous statements but I didn't want to damage Basso's reputation, certain things are part of the race,” said Simoni.
Simoni's lawyer was even more blunt:
“Simoni has denied everything. There was never any question of an agreement, even less so a sum of money,” said the rider's lawyer Giuseppe Napoleone. “However, he was interviewed straight after the finish and he was flustered. But there was never any mention of numbers, we now want the affair to be closed, also for the sake of the Saunier-Duval team.”
Simoni could be sanctioned for “bringing the sport into disrepute.” Given the current investigation in Spain, seems like it would take a little more than an overcompetitive Italian getting a little over-emotional after a stage loss to do that.
If he is sanctioned, there's a chance he could miss this year's Tour.
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