Basso asks for doping inquiry to be dropped

Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso requested Friday that a doping inquiry against him be dropped. The Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping commission said it needed more time to evaluate the case.

Basso, who was excluded from the Tour de France after being implicated in a Spanish doping investigation, has denied using banned substances.

"It's been four months that I've been in this situation. For the time being, nothing has changed," Basso said after the closed hearing at Rome's Olympic Stadium.

It was his second hearing in a month.

The committee can refer the case to the Italian Cycling Federation's disciplinary body, which would try the rider or dismiss the case.

CONI officials said a decision was expected in a matter of days or weeks.

"I'm awaiting the decision with confidence," Basso said. "I've always been optimistic, I've answered all the questions."

Basso was among nine riders including German veteran Jan Ullrich withdrawn from the Tour de France on the eve of the race. Their names had turned up on a list of cyclists who allegedly had contact with a Spanish doctor accused of running a blood doping clinic in Madrid.

Basso's lawyer, Claudio Martelli, said Friday the rider is not under investigation in Spain, reports AP.

Basso also said he's ready to return to cycling immediately if the case is dropped.

"I could race even tomorrow," he said. "I continue to train with dedication and intensity."

A representative of Danish team CSC, which suspended Basso, also took part in the hearing, which lasted over an hour.

Basso said that after the decision, he would meet with top officials of the team to "discuss the future." The rider, who won the Giro d'Italia in May for his first major title, is contracted until 2008.