BASSO REQUESTS RELEASE FROM DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM
Sunday April 29th Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team member Ivan Basso requested
a meeting with General Manager Bill Stapleton and Sports Director Johan
Bruyneel. At the meeting Basso asked to be released from his contract, effective
immediately, citing personal reasons related to the re-opened investigation by
the Italian Olympic Committees (CONI). At the conclusion of the meeting Bruyneel
and Stapleton granted the request and have taken the appropriate steps to
formally release him from the Team.
a very difficult decision, for me and my family, but I think it is the right
thing to do. Johan, Bill and my teammates have always believed in me and shown
me great respect. This decision is my way of showing them that same respect,”
stated Basso. “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% my decision. Nobody asked me to leave. I am
grateful to all of the staff and riders and wish them the best of
In October 2006, the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI)
officially shelved the Basso case following a recommendation by CONI. However,
early last week CONI re-opened the investigation which dates back to July 2006
when Basso was kept from competing at the Tour de France. Tailwind Sports
subsequently asked Basso not to compete until more information was available.
Basso is scheduled to appear before the CONI on Wednesday May 2nd.
request was unexpected and he was very emotional, but adamant, about his
decision to be released. We spoke with him at length before granting his
request. Although he was only on our Team for a short time he was a great leader
and a very well respected and selfless teammate. I, along with the entire Team,
wish him the best,” commented Johan Bruyneel.
Channel is without a title sponsor at the end of 2007 and Tailwind Sports
General Manager Bill Stapleton is optimistic about the Team’s future even
“Ivan was a great addition to our Team and I am very
sad to see him go. He was one of our leaders and we expected big things from him
this season, however, this Team has 15 wins in 2007 and we have great depth and
talent on our roster. We will continue to win and be competitive in all of our
races, including the Tour De France,” commented General Manager Bill Stapleton.
“When we signed Ivan, all the necessary governing authorities had cleared him.
He deserved a Team and we had always wanted to sign him. We did our due
diligence and we have no regrets.”