August 31, 2006 – As reported by Associated Press, Ivan Basso, winner of the 2006 Giro, denies ever using banned substances in his first appearance before Italian authorities. Basso, with nine other noted cyclists, is implicated in Operacion Puerto, centering on the suspect activities of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. Basso was consequently banned fro the 2006 Tour de France.
“It is clear that I have never engaged in doping,” declared Basso before an Italian Olympic Committee commission investigating doping charges.
Basso’s lawyer, Massimo Martelli, claimed to be extremely satisfied by his client’s testimony. “He responded to all of the questions,” noted Martelli. The next hearing is scheduled for September 12th and, if found guilty, Basso risks up to a two-year suspension. But Basso appeared calm and confident, promising supporters that he will soon return to competition.
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