Bosso with­draws

Ital­ian cy­clist at Tour de France di­ag­nosed with tes­ti­cle tu­mour

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY JOHN LE­ICES­TER

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.

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