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Last Updated: Friday, 29 October, 2004, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Armstrong team eye Italy's Basso
Ivan Basso (left) and Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel cycling team admitted they are interested in signing Italian Ivan Basso in the future.

Basso, 26, came third in this year's Tour de France and impressed America's six-time winner Armstrong.

"We've been interested for a long while in Basso as a cyclist and a person," said Discovery's Jogi Muller.

But Basso's Team CSC boss Bjarne Riis said: "He has a three-year contract and he will not leave the team."

Basso joined Team CSC from Fassa Bortolo in January, replacing Tyler Hamilton as team leader.

And Discovery's sporting director Johan Bruyneel is a big fan, according to Muller.

"Johan has a list of favourites and Basso is on it," said Muller.

"But he is under contract. There are no negotiations at the moment."

Armstrong has yet to confirm whether he will race in next year's Tour.

Speaking after Thursday's unveiling of the 2005 Tour route, Bruyneel gave odds of "50-50" as to whether the 33-year-old will take the start line on 2 July.

"He will take part if the thinks he can win it," Bruyneel said. "If things do not go according to how he likes them, it's possible he will not be here."


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