In an unfortunate turn of events, Team Saxo-Tinkoff and their cyclist Ivan Basso confirmed that he will be withdrawing from the Tour de France. The 37 year old Italian Veteran revealed the news, that he has been diagnosed with Testicular cancer on the First Rest day’s press conference alongside an equally shocked Alberto Contador.
“Unfortunately I have a bad announcement to give to you guys,” Basso said. “In stage number five I had a really small crash and on the crash I touched my testicle on the saddle.For a few days I felt a small pain. Yesterday [Sunday] our doctor spoke with the doctor of the Tour and we decided to go to make a special analysis to the hospital. The examination gave me bad news: I have a small cancer in the left testicle.
So it’s easy to understand that I have to stop and go back to Italy. Our doctor is already in contact with the specialist in Italy to fix the operation as soon as possible. I can’t give you more details because we discovered this just two hours ago, so that’s all. I have to leave but I want to give my support to our captain [Contador] to be in yellow in Paris and want to say thanks to my team for their support in this situation and the whole Tour organization and medical staff.”
Contador, in the same conference said,
It has been a very tough day for the whole team, we never imagined something like that and now the first thing is to analyse what’s happened to Ivan, to support him and hope that everything’s resolved as soon as possible.
We want to give Ivan the support of the whole team and you can be sure we will fight for the yellow jersey to bring him yellow in Paris.
For me it has been very hard because over the last 180 days we spent 120 days together and we have been very close to each other. But I’m sure that we will be together again in Paris to celebrate the Tour victory.”
The Italian veteran is a 2 time winner of the Giro D’italia in 2006 and 2010 and has won the young riders classification of the tour de France in 2002. In 2005, he was named to be the heir apparent to the then cycling legend, Lance Armstrong. However, his career took a downturn in 2007 when he admitted his intention to dope for which he was handed a 2 year ban. On his return, he took anothher of his Giro D’italia wins.
Ivan Basso sits 158th overall, 51’23” down on leader Froome in the overall standings. However, his role was to be Contador’s main supporting cast in the mountains. He was one of the primary supporting cast for Contador’s win at the Vuelta last year. He had crashed in stage 5 and had complained about pains. Despite that, he rode magnificently in the Team Time Trial yesterday as they helped Contador move up in the General Classification.The scans revealed the true results just a couple of hours before he and Contador gave the emotional announcement.
As a rider, Basso is one of the friendliest riders out there today and will no doubt be surely missed. As for Alberto, he is more than experienced enough to manage and no doubt his team will step up. To lose a team mate under such circumstances could have a negative effect on the team morale. Although, it is possible that they can take it in a positive stride and win it for him.
We wish Basso a speedy and successful recovery.