13 July 2015

Get well soon Ivan Basso!

Sad news today about Ivan Basso's Testicular Cancer Diagnosis

(Monday Update from Pau) 

“Unfortunately I have a bad announcement to give to you guys,” ~ Ivan Basso

Very sad news today from France when Italian pro cyclist Ivan Basso, of the Tinkoff-Saxo team, announced that he would be leaving the Tour de France immediately to return to Italy after a diagnosis of testicular cancer. A fall during a crash in Stage 5, on Wednesday, left him with pain in his testicle. After an x-ray in the mobile Tour radiology trailer after the time trial on Sunday finding a small lump, further exams were arranged at the hospital in Pau on Monday. The announcement of his cancer was made by Basso himself, in person at the Press Conference on the rest day in Pau. He was both brave and professional.

The last time I saw Ivan Basso was last August in Colorado where he was all smiles.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
I hope he is able to find the best doctors and get well again soon.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Ivan Basso.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Ivan Basso was always a big part of my career as a fan. I grew to respect his work ethic and love of bike racing. I laughed with his photos from the road and of his family. I watched him change teams, his children born, his career advance. It is odd to feel like a distant friend of sorts. 

Get well soon Ivan!

A message from Ivan on Facebook 

quello che sta succedendo lo sapete già, quello che ci tenevo a dirvi è che affronterò questa prova con la grinta di sempre e con la positività che mi avete trasmesso con tutti i vostri messaggi.
Amo il ciclismo che mi ha dato tanto e mi ha insegnato a stringere i denti quando c’è da lottare; adoro la mia famiglia che riempie la mia vita di gioia e mi ha dato la spinta per andare avanti nei momenti difficili; farò un gran tifo per la mia squadra, la Tinkoff-Saxo, alla quale auguro di portare Alberto, il nostro capitano, a Parigi in maglia gialla.
Nei prossimi giorni purtroppo non potrò stare in contatto con voi, ma tornerò a farlo molto presto perché siete la mia forza!
Grazie a tutti.

Ivan says in the message he is determined and positive and that he loves cycling which has taught him to "bite the bullet" in this fight. His family gives him love and joy and the impetus to move forward in these difficult times. He cheers for his team and their captain Alberto whom he hopes will be in yellow in Paris. He will not be in contact for days, but will again when possible "because you are my strength (perché siete la mia forza!)".

As you might remember, Ivan's mother died of Breast Cancer at the age of 49, in 2005. As a father and husband, treatment is not something to be delayed until after the Tour. Testicular Cancer now has a high survival rate of 98-99% if caught and treated early. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare. But testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35."

My favorite photo of Ivan

And taking time to chat with my sister-in-law Suz in France a few years ago.

How Basso appeared to all fans where ever he went. Friendly, professional, loving the bike!

In the early years, Ivan Basso was just a big name to me, a man shrouded in the glitz of the Giro. But Ivan is a friendly person whose eyes sparkle when speaking one on one with a person. My favorite moments of seeing Ivan Basso at races was when he would line up at the start line so early that they laid the start line rope over his front wheel. I saw him do this a number of times and it made me rest my camera out of awe and respect to simply watch him. I thought, "This is a man who loves bike racing." He does indeed. 

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Update Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Good news, Ivan has had surgery and is doing well!

Rafal Majka dedicated his Stage 11 Tour de France win to Ivan Bass (the day of Ivan's surgery)
Winner's Interview from Stage 11 (01:25 English)nbcsports

Read more 2015 Tour de France Coverage by Pedal Dancer®