PARIS (Reuters) - Former Giro d’Italia champion Ivan Basso ended his competitive career on Monday, a few days after recovering from testicular cancer.
“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,” Basso was quoted as saying in a statement from his Tinkoff-Saxo team, where he will retain a “managerial role”.
Basso looked on course for Tour glory when he won the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider in 2002, in an era dominated by the disgraced Lance Armstrong, a testicular cancer survivor.
Basso never won the world’s greatest race, however, finishing third and second overall in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
Basso won the Giro twice — his only grand tour titles — thanks to impressive climbing performances.
His career, however, was stained with a two-year ban for his implication in the Operation Puerto blood-doping scandal.
Basso admitted to “attempted doping” in 2007 and was hit by a backdated two-year suspension which ended in October 2008.
He won the Giro less than two years after his comeback from suspension.
He was one of Alberto Contador’s lieutenants on this year’s Tour de France having helped the Spaniard win the Giro in May.
But Basso quit the Tour de France on the first rest day having just been diagnosed with testicular cancer. He was declared cancer free on Sept. 24.
Reporting by Julien Pretot,; Editing by Pritha Sarkar