ProTour decides not to kick out Discovery over Basso hiring

An international cycling team body decided against kicking out the U.S. Discovery Channel team on Thursday for hiring Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso, who was involved in a doping scandal.
A general assembly of the International Professional Cycling Teams in a Brussels hotel shied away from direct confrontation with the former team of Lance Armstrong, which is owned by Tailwind Sports.
"After a long discussion, the general assembly decided not to exclude Tailwind Sports (Discovery Channel) from the IPCT because of the hiring of Ivan Basso," the group said in a statement.
The IPCT includes all of the teams who compete in the ProTour, the major international races.
Last month, IPCT chairman Patrick Lefevere called for the exclusion of Discovery Channel, claiming it disregarded its ethical code by hiring a rider involved in the Spanish doping scandal "Operation Puerto."
When the scandal broke, Basso was barred from the 2006 Tour de France. He distanced himself from the ongoing investigation after he was cleared last autumn by the Italian Olympic Committee and the Italian cycling federation.
The IPCT said on Thursday all of its teams will continue to cooperate with Operation Puerto in Spain.
"All the teams concerned, including Discovery Channel, will make available DNA samples of riders named in the Operation Puerto file to the Spanish prosecutor," the statement said.
Basso, while riding for CSC, finished third in the 2004 Tour de France, and second in 2005 behind Armstrong. The Italian won the 2006 Giro, and his new two-year contract made Discovery Channel a favorite again for this year's Tour de France.