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Last Updated: Friday, 15 June 2007, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Basso handed two-year doping ban
Ivan Basso
Basso insists he only thought about doping
Ivan Basso has been handed the maximum two-year doping ban at an Italian cycling federation hearing.

The 29-year-old acknowledged his involvement in the Spanish blood-doping scandal known as Operation Puerto and pleaded for a lenient penalty.

He admitted to "attempted doping" but insisted he did not go through with it.

But the Italian cycling federation has decided to punish the Italian with the full two years, as requested by the International Cycling Union.

I'm going to continue to train and plan to return in 2009

Ivan Basso

The suspensions Basso had already served when he was identified as a doping suspect - amounting to 236 days in total - were deducted from the two years, meaning his ban will end on 24 October, 2008.

Basso said: "I accept the sentence. I knew the situation wasn't an easy one. I'm going to continue to train and plan to return in 2009. I've got to look to the future."

The Italian Olympic Committee, the country's anti-doping body, requested last month that the 2006 Giro d'Italia winner be suspended for 21 months but the ICU insisted he should receive the maximum two-year ban.

Basso was accused of using or attempting to use a banned substance or method, and "possession of banned substances and methods".

He said he gave a blood sample to Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the heart of the Operation Puerto case, with the intention of doping but never actually did.

Basso was initially cleared but the case was reopened last month. The Italian authorities decided to look again after reportedly obtaining bags suspected of containing his blood.

The 2006 Giro d'Italia champion was suspended by the Italian cycling federation last month.

Basso, who has quit the Discovery Channel team, is one of dozens of riders implicated in the doping affair.

He was excluded from last year's Tour de France because his name appeared on a list of cyclists who allegedly had contact with Fuentes, the doctor at the heart of the scandal.

Last year's Tour de France also ended in controversy when American winner Floyd Landis tested positive for testosterone.

SEE ALSO
Under-fire Basso parts with team
30 Apr 07 |  Cycling
Defiant Basso protests innocence
01 Jul 06 |  Cycling


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