Ivan Basso has announced his full retirement from professional cycling. The 37-year-old was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the Tour de France in July and has since made a full recovery but after talks with his Tinkoff-Saxo team he has decided to call time on his career. Basso confirmed the news at the Giro d'Italia 2016 route presentation in Milan on Monday. The Italian will take up a management role within the Tinkoff Saxo team next year.
Basso turned professional in the late 1990s and won the white jersey at the Tour de France in 2002. He won the 2006 and 2010 editions of the Giro d’Italia but served a two-year doping suspension in between his two Grand Tour victories.
This year Basso joined Tinkoff-Saxo and helped Alberto Contador secure his second Giro d'Italia win. Basso finished 15th overall in the race. He returned to training last month but held talks with his team this weekend before making today's announcement.
“Today is a special day for me. It's not a sad day today because my links to cycling will continue," he said in Milan.
"It’s been a long, 30 year relationship with the bike and I'm happy I'm able to to carry on with this adventure."
In a press release issued by Tinkoff Saxo, Basso added that: "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."
"I have no reason to betray my fans and all the people that believed in me all these years. I could have continued racing but I wouldn't be competitive. I could take part in a race but then struggle to finish. There is no point in letting my fans down and when adrenaline is replaced by fear then it's time to change."
"I don't regret putting an end to my racing career. Cycling is a passion that runs in my family and I feel extremely lucky I have a team that believes in me and gives me this opportunity to start this new endeavor without practically stopping."
The details of Basso's newly created role will be defined and then announced in the coming weeks.