In a story published in Cyclingnews this morning, Italian authorities have disclosed that they are interested in the bags of blood tagged with the codenames “Birillo” and “2″ currently in the hands of Spanish authorities as part of Operation Puerto. Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that those bags could be in the hands of Italian authorities within a week.
In related news, the Spanish pape, Interviu is outlining a potentially deeper relation between Basso and Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes than had been reported.
Given this “one-two” punch, Discovery Channel has suspended Basso pending a DNA test on the bags of blood from Operation Puerto. Obviously, this puts the Giro is serious jeopardy. Questions are also in my mind regarding the ability of Discovery Channel to locate a sponsor in the midst of all of this. My guess that the one pushing the hardest for a swift resolution will be Johan himself, not McQuaid, Pound, or the Grand Tours.
I have yet to hear of any response from the other ProTour teams and those within the UCI and Grand Tours who continue to advocate an exclusion of all riders directly or indirectly implicated in Operation Puerto. It would be wise of them to wait until the DNA results are in before they find the nearest bully pulpit.