May 7 2007
So the Giro start list is out. But where’s Ivan Basso? Why, finally “confessing” to the Operation Puerto charges, of course. Though I really can’t say what, if anything, he’s confessed, since it was the Italian Olympic Committee, not Basso, that broke the news. And all CONI says is that Basso’s admitted a connection – not exactly Mr. Green in the Study with the Candlestick, if you know what I’m saying. Also suspiciously absent are Tinkoff’s Jorg Jacksche and Tyler Hamilton; no prizes for guessing why.
Still, with Basso now admitting he had at least something to do with the good Doctor Fuentes, Gazzetta dello Sport has plunged ever outward, searching for more possible connections. Next target – Alejandro Valverde, where the links are many and, in the wake of Basso’s confession, ever more convincing. Fuentes might be a dope doctor nonpareil, but he sure does suck when it comes to this secret agent stuff. It makes me wonder how, with rather specific whispers spreading about him for over a year Valverde managed to avoid the scapegoating that befell other Puerto suspects.
Meanwhile, racing continued at Romandy, where riders not currently suspected of anything closed out the event with some mountain stages and a TT. American Chris Horner showed good form in the hills, but cyclochronometry has never really been his thing, and the youngster everyone’s been tagging for awesomeness since he first slipped on a Rabobank kit, Thomas Decker, won the stage and the event on its final day. Flanking him on the podium were Paolo Savoldelli and Andrey Kashechkin, which could bode well for Team Astana in the coming months.