Ivan Basso: I didn’t quit racing because of cancer

The assumption, understandably perhaps, was that Ivan Basso decided to hang up his wheels after being diagnosed and then successfully treated for testicular cancer this summer. However, the former Giro d’Italia winner tells Cyclingnews, that the decision to stop was sparked by entirely different emotions.

The Tinkoff-Saxo team camp in Croatia this week marked a huge juncture in Basso’s career. For the first time in 17 years he will put his own training and goals to one side and focus on the important relationship between riders and team management, acting as a vital conduit between the two parties within the Tinkoff-Saxo squad.

“This hasn’t been a surprise for me and I’ve arrived at this point, step by step, ever since I decided to stop riding,” he tells Cyclingnews after an early-morning meeting with the team’s sports directors.


“I made that decision with the people at this team, and also my family, but the people I work with now helped me. For me, this is a really important part of my life, after so many years on the bike.”

Basso’s cancer diagnosis arose during the Tour de France after feeling pain for several days following a crash. It was announced on the race’s first rest-day and he returned to Italy immediately for treatment, including surgery. He has since recovered to the point where he can ride his bike, resume a normal life and is no longer under treatment.

“You know it was super easy to decide to stop,” he says, searching for an analogy that might describe what he has been through in recent months.

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