Basso’s biological passport numbers from Giro d’Italia
Giro d’Italia winner under examination
Ivan Basso’s hematocrit values decreased by 4.3 percentage points on his way to winning the Giro d’Italia last month. Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport published yesterday the results of three controls used for Basso’s biological passport.
The newspaper published results from three tests, showing a drop in hematocrit and haemoglobin values – indicating a clean performance. The first control was in Amsterdam, two days before the race started (43% hematocrit, 13.9g/dl haemoglobin), the second control was on the second rest day, between the stage to Monte Zoncolan and Plan de Coronas (40.9, 13.3) and the final control was in Verona on the morning of the last stage (38.7, 12.9).
The results show a human winner, different from the Italian rider who won the 2006 Giro d’Italia by nearly 10 minutes. Following the 2006 Giro d’Italia, investigators linked Basso to Operación Puerto by showing he had blood stored in Madrid.
He served a two-year suspension and returned to race the Giro d’Italia last year, finishing fourth. This year he won by 1’51” over David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne).
“This year we have seen good signs. Whether it has to do with targeting blood values or not, the tests are negative,” explained International Cycling Union (UCI) doctor Mario Zorzoli. “Compared to 2008, the year the biological passport was introduced, the numbers are on the level. The outliers and suspicious readings are in the minority.”
UCI president, Pat McQuaid, confirmed Basso’s clean performance during the Giro d’Italia. “I am pleased to see the battle between Ivan Basso and Cadel Evans,” said McQuaid. “They are superb riders, 100 per cent clean and give a good image to the sport.”
Since returning in the fall of 2008, Basso has been what cycling calls ‘transparent.’ He posts his training data and blood values online and works with respected cycling trainer, Aldo Sassi.
Sassi agreed to work with Basso only if he can publish all of his training and blood values on Mapei Sports’ website (you can create an account and view the numbers, http://www.mapeisport.it ). They will publish the results from two additional tests (June 2 and June 12) in the coming days.
Basso has been naturally raising his blood values by training at San Pellegrino in the Italian Dolomites, a short distance from his stage win at Monte Zoncolan. He was at San Pellegrino from June 10 until Friday, when he came down to race the GP Arona yesterday and the GP Stresa today. Following the GP Stresa, he wil return to train at San Pellegrino through Friday, the day before the national championships.
The races and high-altitude training serve as Basso’s final preparations ahead of the Tour de France, starting July 3 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The Liquigas team for the Tour de France is almost finalised: Basso, Vincenzo Nibali, Roman Kreuziger, Daniel Oss, Sylvester Szmyd, Brian Vandborg, Manuel Quinziato and Aleksandr Kuschynski.