photo credits @ Tinkoff-Saxo
Ivan Basso wants to make it clear, that his brief battle with testicular cancer was not the motivating reason behind his decision to retire, but rather, age and diminishing performance is at the root of it.
The 37-year old Basso announced his decision to retire during yesterday’s presentation of the 2016 edition of the Giro d’Italia.
“I think it’s the right moment. The right place too – all of world cycling is here. For me it’s a special day, of course, but it’s a natural day, because the last period [has been] really difficult for me,” he told Cyclingnews at the Giro presentation in Milan.
“I ride, I try to do what I have to do but sometimes I’m not comfortable. I am not where I have to be and that’s not good enough. I don’t want to ride just to ride my bike. I think it’s important to finish in the right moment.
“I want to finish my career with energy because I need the energy for my family and for my work in cycling. I stop but I start straight away, so it’s a new adventure for me,” he added, referring to his immediate switch to an administrative role in the Tinkoff-Saxo set-up.
Basso was diagnosed with cancer following a crash at the Tour de France in July, wherein the disease was inadvertently discovered. The Italian rider subsequently withdrew from the race, and underwent immediate treatment.
As of two weeks ago, Basso has been given a clean bill of health.
In a statement from the Tinkoff-Saxo team, Basso said that he was already unhappy with his performances before he suffered that crash and reasoned that carrying on next year without being able to perform near his best would be tantamount to ‘betrayal’ of his fans and those around him.
“When I joined Tinkoff-Saxo, one of the world’s best teams, my goal was to add value to the top squad they already had, otherwise it wouldn’t have made any sense. Even if my role is to be a super domestique, I have to perform at the highest level and when we take part in the most important race of the year, I have to be an asset to the team not a liability”, he said.
“I have no reason to betray my fans and all the people that believed in me all these years. I could have continued racing but I wouldn’t be competitive. I could take part in a race but then struggle to finish. There is no point in letting my fans down and when adrenaline is replaced by fear then it’s time to change”.
The famous Italian rider announced today, during the Giro d’Italia 2016 presentation, the end of his illustrious racing career. Tinkoff-Saxo will use Basso’s expertise and skills in a new role within the team that will combine managerial and technical aspects and whose details will be defined in the coming weeks.
One of cycling’s most prolific careers came to a close today as Ivan Basso took to the stage of the Giro 2016 presentation at the Milan EXPO, to officially announce his retirement from competitive racing.
“Every athlete knows that his light will not shine bright throughout his career. Inevitably, at some stage it will start dimming and it’s the sign of a wise athlete to know when the moment has come to turn it off”, stated Basso.
Basso is considered a cycling legend and one of the best climbers of his generation, with a professional career that spans nearly two decades. The double Giro winner joined Tinkoff-Saxo in 2015 and was one of the key contributors to Alberto Contador’s victory at the Giro.
While being a member of the squad that supported Contador in his historic Giro-Tour attempt, Basso was diagnosed with testicular cancer, following a crash suffered on the fifth stage of the Tour de France. He was successfully operated on July 15th, he was back on his bike on August 17 and was declared cancer free on September 24.
Although his diagnosis and subsequent recovery weighed in his decision to retire from competitive racing, Basso admitted that even prior to his crash at the Tour he felt he wasn’t performing at the level he would like and would be expected from him.
“When I joined Tinkoff-Saxo, one of the world’s best teams, my goal was to add value to the top squad they already had, otherwise it wouldn’t have made any sense. Even if my role is to be a super domestique, I have to perform at the highest level and when we take part in the most important race of the year, I have to be an asset to the team not a liability”, commented Basso.
Basso’s retirement from competitive racing doesn’t end his involvement with Tinkoff-Saxo. His deep knowledge, wealth of experience and skills built during nearly two decades at the top of the sport of cycling will be put in use after the end of this season. Basso will hold a newly-created position in the team that will combine managerial and technical aspects and will work in close collaboration with Managing Director, Stefano Feltrin, and Head Sport Director, Steven de Jongh.
“I don’t regret putting an end to my racing career. Cycling is a passion that runs in my family and I feel extremely lucky I have a team that believes in me and gives me this opportunity to start this new endeavor without practically stopping”, commented Basso.
“I look forward to working closely with the team management, its sport directors and all the riders. I’d like to also thank the owner of the team, Oleg Tinkov, who makes all this possible driven by his profound passion for the sport of cycling”.
The details of Basso’s new position within the team will be finalized in the coming weeks.
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