Italian cyclist at Tour de France diagnosed with testicle tumour
Stunning the Tour de France on its first rest day, doctors diagnosed a tumour in the left testicle of two-time Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso on Monday, forcing him out of the showcase race.
His former rival Lance Armstrong, who survived testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and brain, immediately tweeted his support.
At age 37, Basso wasn’t a contender to win the race, as the Italian was in his heyday before he was banned for doping. But his experience and pedigree — Basso finished second at the 2005 Tour and third in 2004 — meant his withdrawal was keenly felt by his team leader Alberto Contador.
The 2007 and 2009 champion must now tackle the most arduous two weeks of the Tour, with decisive climbs in the Pyrenees and Alps, without the assistance and moral support of his veteran teammate and training partner.
On what is often an uneventful day of rest and relaxation when riders recharge their batteries before the high mountains, a visibly shaken Basso appeared with Contador at a news conference and announced that just two hours earlier, doctors diagnosed a tumour in his left testicle that had been painful since he crashed on Stage 5.
Contador put his arm around Basso and vowed, his voice cracking with emotion, to do his best to win the race to honour his teammate.
Basso said he has cancer.