Basso was sixteenth overall, 18 seconds down on leader Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) after the opening two stages. Fellow Italian Danilo Di Luca (Katusha) and Basso’s teammate Mauro Finetto also quit the race during the stage.
“It was difficult but it’s the right decision. I went deep to stay with the leaders on the opening two stages but I was feeling worse and worse,” Basso said in a statement issued by his Liquigas-Cannondale team.
“I didn’t feel very good in Catalunya but thought I’d get over it. But after talking with the directeur sportif and Amadio (the Liquigas-Cannondale team manager), we decided that the best thing to do was to stop now. I’m really sorry but with two big races like Fleche-Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege coming up, I can’t take any risks.”
Basso will head home to Italy on Thursday and undergo medical tests with the team doctor Roberto Corsetti.
“The way Ivan feels makes us think the problems he had during Tirreno-Adriatico have affected him in some way,” Amadio said.
“We think it’s better for him to stop, rest up and undergo a detailed check-up. We don’t want to risk his next important objectives.”
Basso has yet to confirm he will not ride this year’s Giro d’Italia but is widely expected to focus on the Tour de France.