MILAN (VN) — Ivan Basso will decide whether to continue his racing career in the coming months after undergoing cancer surgery. Team Tinkoff-Saxo’s Italian, the 2006 and 2010 Giro d’Italia winner, is recovering after abandoning the Tour de France in July when doctors found a tumor in his testicle.
The 37-year-old from Varese underwent surgery July 15 on his left testicle. Following a crash in stage 5 of the Tour, he noted a problem, and the team Tinkoff-Saxo doctors had him go in for a check. After nine days of racing, he abandoned and flew from southwestern France to Milan for immediate help.
He explained this week that the tumor was isolated and failed to spread to other parts of his body. Further checks will allow him to make a decision on his cycling future.
“I’m interested in riding again; that’s the number-one objective because if you do this for 30 years, you need to get back on the bike,” Basso told La Gazzetta dello Sport over the weekend.
“I’ll decide further ahead because it’s clear that a reflection needs to be made. I’m lucky to discover something that could have become enormous.”
Basso has one more year in his contract, through 2016, with the Russian/Danish team. If he does not return to competition, he could switch over to coaching or directing. He said in past interviews that he wants to do so when he stops competing.
He added. “I have more exams coming up to understand when I’ll be able to try to ride again.”
For 2015, he decided to ride for Alberto Contador instead of himself. He helped the Spaniard to the Giro overall win in May and played his part in Contador’s fifth overall in the Tour. After he pulled out, he returned to celebrate with the team in Paris.
The team’s sport directors and owner Oleg Tinkov will be in contact in the following month to understand Basso’s next move. In September, he will have a follow-up check that should help him determine if he can race again.
“It’ll be the decisive one,” he added. “Then I’ll decide what I’m going to do.”
Basso, the under-23 world champion, moved into the professional ranks in 1999. He raced for Fassa Bortolo, Liquigas-Cannondale, and Tinkoff-Saxo, and won the Italian grand tour twice. He also went on to stand on the podium in the Tour, placing second behind Lance Armstrong in 2005.
The big stain on his career came from Operación Puerto. Basso, after being linked to the Spanish doping scandal, left the 2006 Tour, but did not admit he was involved. Italian authorities later linked him to blood bags marked “Birillo” found in Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes’s Madrid offices and suspended him for two years.