The 28-year-old Italian was implicated in the Spanish blood doping scandal that broke on the eve of this year's Tour de France, and was banned from competing until he was acquitted by the Italian Olympic Committee due to a lack of evidence.
He was then released from the CSC team after sporting director Bjarne Riis admitted he had lost confidence in his rider, though the Discovery Channel team were quick to secure his services for the coming season, a decision that T-Mobile claims contradicts the "agreement reached by all the teams on the ProTour," that no rider who had been under suspicion of doping should be signed.
"We are astonished at the move of Ivan Basso to Discovery," the German outfit announced in a statement. "We find it inconceivable that they have agreed to sign him, as he must first prove his total innocence against the allegations made against him, jut like Jan Ullrich, and only then should he be able to look for a team."
Pinotti in pink after breakaway
Discovery Channel sporting director Johann Bruyneel defended his team's actions, insisting there was nothing to stop them recruiting the rider. "Before taking this decision he studies the case and contacted four specialist lawyers – a Swiss, a Frenchman, a Spaniard and an Italian – and they informed us there was nothing to stop us signing Basso" he revealed.
In the wake of the doping scandal, T-Mobile set about overhauling their team, sacking leader Ullrich and his manager Rudy Pevenage, and replacing team boss Olaf Ludwig and sporting director Mario Kummer with Bob Stapleton and Rolf Aldag, as part of a new hard line anti-doping philosophy.
Quatre Jours de Dunkerque
Cavendish, Ladagnous celebrate
Cummings and Roche ready to roar