May 01, 2007
Basso leaves Discovery Channel, abandons season
Defending Giro champion Ivan Basso has left the Discovery Channel team, in the wake of a new look at reports he may have been involved in Operacion Puerto.
The Italian, signed by Discovery in December, is scheduled to appear in Rome before his national anti-doping agency this Wednesday after an agreement over the weekend by the Grand Tour organizers to continue to exclude riders believed to be involved in Operación Puerto.
Basso released a statement, saying in part:
“(Sports director) Johan (Bruyneel), (general manager) Bill (Stapleton) and my team mates have always believed in me and shown me great respect. This decision is my way of showing them that same respect. The team is trying to find a new sponsor and win bike races, and my situation is a distraction to both of those goals. It is important that everyone knows this was 100 percent my decision. Nobody asked me to leave. I am grateful to all of the staff and riders and wish them the best of luck.”
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