Basso, 37, has one more year left of his existing two-season deal but has understandably not returned to full fitness or raced since first being diagnosed with cancer during July. He was operated on in Italy soon after the diagnosis and has been able to undergo light training sessions with the Saitama Criterium pencilled for his return later this month. Beyond that, though, his future is still uncertain.
In the coming days Basso and Tinkoff-Saxo team manager Stefano Feltrin will meet in Milan, with discussions over the rider’s future set to take place on Monday. Feltrin, who signed Basso to the team last year, is waiting to hear what the rider's plans are and has suggested that chances of a full come-back to racing are currently 50-50. The team manager also told Cyclingnews that if the rider can return to racing fitness there will be a place for him and that the squad will do everything to support his decision – whether it’s to carry on racing or retire from professional cycling.
“I’m going to see him Sunday night in Milan. We’re going to watch Milan play Napoli and then on Monday morning we’ll get together and talk about the situation. That’s the plan,” Feltrin told Cyclingnews.
“Ivan’s doctor has cleared him and he’s of course got a big decision to make. It’s his life and we’ll hear what he has to say and then we’ll make a decision.“
When asked of Basso’s chances of racing next season, Feltrin was honest in his assessment, backing up comments Basso had already made that suggested that family life could become more of a priority.
“I don’t know. If I have to give you numbers it’s 50—50. He has a family, kids at home and he’s just recovered from something very serious, which I’m sure has put everything into perspective. I honestly don’t know but we’ll talk and if he asks our advice we’ll be happy to give it.”
Basso is a former Grand Tour winner, and was part of Alberto Contador’s winning Giro d’Italia team this year.
“He has a two-year contract so he has full rights to do that and we’ll support that if he’s at the level," continued Feltrin. Ivan is a champion so I’m sure that he wants to end his career at the best level and he’s been part of a winning team this year at the Giro. It’s a tough sport but if he can get back to that level then of course we’ll support that but we’ll talk openly and honestly with Ivan.”
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