While Daniele Ratto celebrated the best day of his career with a solo victory at the Vuelta a Espana, his Cannondale team leader Ivan Basso described the stage to Collada de la Gallina as the saddest day of his career.
Basso was seventh overall at the start of the day but struggled in the cold and rain on the long descent of the Envalira climb and was forced to retire from the Vuelta.
"It's the saddest day of my career. It's a huge blow," he said.
"I felt good and was convinced I could do something in the Vuelta. But now I've been knocked down by this. I don’t know what to say. I don’t really believe in luck or destiny but for sure this season has been terrible for me. Ratto's win has boosted the moral of the team and they all deserve it because they helped me so much and never left me alone."
Basso explained to Gazzetta dello Sport what happened.
"When I stopped, three or four people were needed to get me off my bike. I was confused and lost, the team car did the right thing because I could have hurt myself," he said.
"It happened suddenly. I came out of a tunnel and I suddenly felt frozen. But I was wrapped up, I'd eaten and I'm only as thin as everyone else. I was just four kilometres from the bottom of the descent…"
Basso was expected to secure in the Italian team for the world championships. He was also considering his future, with an option to remain as Grand Tour leader at Cannondale or a tempting offer to join Astana and help Vincenzo Nibali. After missing the Giro d'Italia due to a saddle sore, his whole future is in doubt but he remains determined to get back up after another blow.
"Yet again I've got to pick myself up. Fortunately I've got the determination to do it," he said.
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