Ivan Basso

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Ivan Basso
2015 Tour de France team presentation, Ivan Basso.jpg
Basso at the 2015 Tour de France
Personal information
Full name Ivan Basso
Nickname Ivan the Terrible, The Smiling Assassin
Born (1977-11-26) 26 November 1977 (age 37)
Gallarate, Province of Varese, Italy
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Weight 70 kg (150 lb; 11 st)[1]
Team information
Current team Tinkoff-Saxo
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Climber
Professional team(s)
1998 Zalf-Euromobil-Fior
1998 → Asics (stagiaire)
1999–2000 Riso Scotti
2001–2003 Fassa Bortolo
2004–2006 Team CSC
2007 Discovery Channel
2008–2014 Liquigas
2015 Tinkoff-Saxo
Major wins

Grand Tours

Tour de France
Young rider classification (2002)
1 individual stage (2004)
Giro d'Italia
General classification (2006, 2010)
6 individual stages (2005, 2006, 2010)
2 TTT (2006, 2010)

Stage races

Danmark Rundt (2005)
Critérium International (2006)
Giro del Trentino (2009)
Giro di Padania (2011)

One-day races and Classics

Giro dell'Emilia (2004)
Japan Cup (2012)
Infobox last updated on
1 January 2014

Ivan Basso (born 26 November 1977) is an Italian former professional road bicycle racer who last raced with UCI ProTeam Tinkoff-Saxo.[2] Basso, nicknamed Ivan the Terrible,[3] was considered among the best mountain riders in the professional field in the early 21st century, and was considered one of the strongest stage race riders. He is a double winner of the Giro d'Italia, having won the 2006 edition and the 2010 edition of the Italian Grand Tour whilst riding for Team CSC in 2006 and for Liquigas in 2010. However, in 2007 Basso admitted he was planning to use doping and was suspended for two years. His suspension ended on 24 October 2008, and he returned to racing two days later in the Japan Cup, where he placed a close third behind Damiano Cunego and Giovanni Visconti.[4] He later returned to racing in his home tour and in 2010, he won his second Giro d'Italia while apart of Liquagis-Domo, winning two stages along the way.[5][6]


He was born in Gallarate, in the province of Varese in Lombardy. There he grew up next door to Claudio Chiappucci, a former three-time stage winner in the Tour de France who was suspended for two years after being proven guilty of doping several times.

As an amateur, he finished second in the 1995 junior World Championships and his first big result was winning the U-23 World Championships in 1998. In his youth he fiercely competed with fellow Italian riders Giuliano Figueras and especially Danilo Di Luca who proclaimed he would have won the U-23 World Championship himself had it not been for the team tactics.[7] Before Basso could turn professional, his parents wanted to see him finish his Technical Geometry studies. He turned professional with Davide Boifava's Riso Scotti-Vinavil team in 1999, where he rode his first Giro d'Italia. He did not finish the three-week race, but he made it a priority to win it some day.[3] In 2000, with the team now called Amica Chips-Tacconi Sport, he won his first professional victories in the 2000 Regio-Tour.

Promising results[edit]

In 2001, he moved to Fassa Bortolo under the guidance of sporting director Giancarlo Ferretti. He scored several notable victories in 2001, and he made his Tour de France debut in the 2001 edition. His attack on the Bastille Day stage prompted a five man break-away which rode for the victory, but Basso crashed on a mountain descent and was forced to abandon the race.

His next two years were devoid of significant wins, even though he had promising rides in the Tour de France. In the 2002 edition of the Tour de France, Basso finished 11th overall and won the white jersey, the award presented to the best-placed rider in the general classification under the age of 25.

Basso during the 2003 Tour de France.

He impressed again in the 2003 Tour, finishing seventh overall in spite of receiving little help from his Fassa Bortolo team-mates who, after dedicating their efforts in the first part of the race to help Alessandro Petacchi win four stages, had to pull out due to food poisoning, leaving only two riders to help Basso. Despite his good results as the best placed Italian rider in the Tour de France, he was behind fellow Italian teammate Dario Frigo in the Fassa Bortolo pecking order for the biggest race in Italy, the Giro.[3] After the promising start to his Fassa Bortolo career, Basso's relationship with Ferretti turned sour. Basso failed to respond well to the management methods of the "iron sergeant" who thought Basso did not win enough races.

Apart from the individual time trial stages, Basso had only lost around a single minute to winner Lance Armstrong in the 2003 Tour, and he was not short of new team offers. Despite strong rumors sending him to team U.S. Postal Service,[7] Ivan Basso moved to Team CSC for the 2004 season, under guidance of team manager Bjarne Riis. At Team CSC, Basso was to fill the role as team captain, which Tyler Hamilton had left vacant at the Danish outfit, with the main aim to be a challenger in the Tour de France. Ivan Basso's weakness was the time trial and before the 2004 season he and teammate Carlos Sastre trained in a wind tunnel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to improve their aerodynamic positioning on the bike. The time trial skill of Ivan Basso was one of the main points of improvements over the next years.

Heir apparent[edit]

Basso (left) alongside Lance Armstrong at the 2004 Tour de France. Basso achieved his first Grand Tour stage victory at the race, on the twelfth stage.

Basso looked impressive in the 2004 Tour de France, winning stage 12 ahead of eventual winner Lance Armstrong, his first victory since 2001. His overall time was hurt by relatively poor time trial results: he only finished 8th on the stage 16 time trial up the mountain Alpe d'Huez, where he was caught and passed by Armstrong, and 6th in the stage 19 time trial. In all, he lost a combined 5 minutes and 13 seconds in the two stages. His time loss on the last time trial effectively sent Basso down to third place behind Andreas Klöden, and Basso finished 6:40 behind overall winner Armstrong. He ended the season, participating with the Italian national team in the 2004 World Championships in Verona, helping fellow Italian Luca Paolini get a Bronze Medal. In the off-season, Team CSC was in a financial struggle. Even as Bjarne Riis let riders who received superior offers from other teams leave, Basso did not move to team Discovery Channel even though an economically more lucrative contract was proposed.[3]

January 2005 saw the death of Basso's mother, who died after battling cancer. Basso went on to focus on the 2005 Giro d'Italia, in her memory, as his main aim for that season. By both focusing on winning the Giro and the Tour, he was going against the trend of only aiming for one big race a season, a tactic most notably employed successfully by Lance Armstrong.[8] Basso wore the leader's jersey, the maglia rosa, in the Giro until severe stomach problems caused him to lose the lead on stage 13 on the Passo dello Stelvio. He lost another 40 minutes during the 14th stage, a mountain stage which included the Stelvio Pass, and thus effectively ended his bid for overall honors. No longer dangerous to the other main riders, Basso decided to continue in the race with the objective of winning individual stages. He did manage to achieve this goal at stage 17, a mountain stage. He also won the 18th stage, a time trial, ahead of team mate David Zabriskie, demonstrating the improvement he had made in this area.

Basso at the 2005 Tour de France, where he finished the race second overall.

At the 2005 Tour de France, he started out comparatively weakly on stage 10, the first mountain stage of the race, where he trailed the front group by a minute. But for the rest of the race, Ivan Basso was once again the only rider to keep up with the race leader Lance Armstrong in the mountains, and on occasion he tried to pressure the eventual winner by going on the attack. Basso was still weaker in the time trials, although he had improved significantly when compared to 2004. He lost a collective 3:47 over two time trial stages, as Basso placed second overall in the Tour, 4:40 behind Lance Armstrong. During the 2005 Tour de France, Basso signed a new three-year contract with Team CSC.

2006 Giro d'Italia[edit]

Following his overall rank of 28th in the 2005 Giro, Basso returned to the Giro in 2006 with the intention to win. Following a good performance in the stage 1 time trial, Basso and his CSC teammates won the 5th stage, a team time trial. Basso's first solo stage victory came on the 8th stage, the first mountaintop finish of the Giro, where he countered an attack by Damiano Cunego and rode to the finish by himself. That victory also allowed him to gain enough time on his rivals to put him in the maglia rosa leader's jersey for the first time in the 2006 Giro, a jersey which he would hold on to for the remaining 13 stages.

Stage 11 was a long and flat[9] individual time trial where Basso finished in second place, losing only to former two-time World Time Trial Championship winner Jan Ullrich, beating riders like the Italian national time trial champion Marco Pinotti. During the last week of the 2006 Giro, Basso became truly dominant, as he consistently beat his main rivals for the General Classification, and won stages 16 and 20 along the way. His victory in Stage 20, where he rode to a solo victory on the final ascent into Aprica after riding away from rival Gilberto Simoni, was notable when he, already sure of his victory, pulled out a picture of his newly born son Santiago, and held it aloft as he crossed the finish line. Santiago Basso had been born the previous day, and Basso had not yet seen his son in the flesh, having been given the picture only hours before the stage started. When rival Simoni rolled across the line over a minute behind Basso, he was clearly upset at being beaten and made a remark that Basso's dominance at that year's Giro was "extra-terrestrial." [10] Basso eventually finished 9 minutes 18 seconds up on the second placed rider, José Enrique Gutiérrez, the largest margin of victory in the Giro d'Italia since 1965. After the last stage of the 2006 Giro d'Italia, Basso declared that he would continue along his pre-season plan to also ride the 2006 Tour de France.

Operación Puerto and the 2006 Tour de France[edit]

On 30 June 2006, the management of the Tour de France announced at a press conference that a number of riders, including Ivan Basso, would not be riding in the 2006 Tour de France due to rumours of blood doping stemming from the Operación Puerto investigation in Spain. According to the investigation, Basso was allegedly given blood doping by the Dr. Fuentes in a Spanish clinic. No formal charges had been raised, but following an agreement between the managers of all the ProTour teams, any rider under suspicion of doping would not be allowed to start in ProTour races. This forced CSC to remove Basso from their squad for the 2006 Tour.

Speculation in the Italian press suggested that should Basso not be banned he would be joining the Discovery Channel team. Team CSC described these suggestions as just rumours.[11] Later, CSC manager Bjarne Riis was reported stating that it was unlikely that Basso could return to CSC without proving he had no contact with Dr. Fuentes, as Basso's contract specified that he could receive no outside medical assistance. Riis conceded that it might be impossible for Basso to prove beyond doubt. Rumours also talked about Basso moving to Team Milram or Barloworld (a non-ProTour team).[12] The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) proceedings commenced in late August 2006.

From CSC to Team Discovery Channel[edit]

On 18 October 2006, Team CSC announced that his contract had been terminated by mutual consent.[13] On 27 October 2006, Basso was acquitted for any involvement in the Operation Puerto events by the committee, due to insufficient evidence.[14]

On 9 November 2006 Ivan Basso announced he was joining Lance Armstrong's former team, Discovery Channel. The announcement was made in Austin, Texas, and Basso Du Mont joined the team on 3 December 2006 for the first unofficial training camp. Basso Du Mont rode for Levi Leipheimer during the 2007 Tour of California,[15] and also raced Tirreno–Adriatico, where he crashed.[16]

Puerto case reopened[edit]

On 24 April 2007, Basso was suspended by Discovery Channel when the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) reopened his case. On 30 April 2007 Team Discovery Channel announced that Basso would be released from his contract. Basso requested to leave the team citing "personal reasons related to the re-opened investigation by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI)." Basso met with the General Manager of Team Discovery Channel, Bill Stapleton, and Johan Bruyneel, the Team Director, and the two agreed to allow Basso to leave the team.[17] While still claiming to never have actually engaged in blood doping, Basso admitted contacting Dr. Fuentes' clinic with the intention to engage in blood doping.[18]

Basso appeared before the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) on 2 May 2007.[19] On 7 May 2007, Basso admitted his involvement with the drug scandal to the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).[20] In a later press conference he stated it was "attempted doping", and that while he had not actually undergone doping, he was "fully aware that an attempt at doping is tantamount to doping" and that "[he would] serve [his] suspension and then return to race."[21]

On 15 June 2007, Basso received a two-year ban. The time he had already spent under team suspension whilst riding for CSC and temporary suspension since leaving Discovery were taken into consideration which means he was banned until 25 October 2008.[22]

Return after suspension[edit]

After his return Ivan Basso signed a two-year contract with Liquigas, his first race being in the Japan Cup on 26 October 2008. He proceeded to finish third, after Damiano Cunego and Giovanni Visconti. In April 2009 he claimed overall victory in the Italian stage race Giro del Trentino. He then competed in his main objective for the year, the Giro d'Italia, where he finished fifth behind eventual maglia rosa Denis Menchov, Danilo Di Luca, fellow Liquigas rider Franco Pellizotti and 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre. He also placed 4th in the 2009 Vuelta a España behind Alejandro Valverde, Samuel Sánchez, and Cadel Evans respectively.

In 2010, Basso aimed to win his second Giro d'Italia, leading Team Liquigas with his teammate Vincenzo Nibali. Despite having a quiet start to the race, he won the 15th stage of the 2010 Giro d'Italia atop Monte Zoncolan, after his Liquigas team had set the pace for some 150 km in order to chase down a breakaway. After Stage 19, he donned the Maglia Rosa as a result of out-climbing previous race leader David Arroyo, and held it to the end of the race.[23] This resulted his second Giro win since 2006.

Basso then focused on the Tour where he attempted to win the Giro and the Tour during the same year but he ended up struggling through the last week, finishing 32nd.

In 2011, Basso skipped the Giro to focus on the Tour. After having a good start over the first 2 weeks sitting 5th overall, Basso struggled on stages 16 and 17 after being dropped on the final descents. He later finished 7th overall. In 2012, Basso started the season with quiet form focusing on the Giro d'Italia, but only finishing 5th overall.

In August 2014, it was announced that Basso would be joining Team Tinkoff-Saxo from 2015 on a two year deal.[24]

In July 2015, Basso was diagnosed with testicular cancer and immediately withdrew from the Tour de France to seek treatment in Italy.[25] Basso received support from a number of people including Lance Armstrong. Basso made the announcement to the media in those terms: "I have a bad announcement to give to you guys," Basso said. "On stage 5, I had a really small crash but in the crash I touched my testicle on the saddle and for a few days, I felt a small pain. Yesterday we spoke with the doctor of the Tour de France and we decided to go to make a special analysis in the hospital and the examination gave me bad news. I have a small cancer in the left testicle."[26]

In September 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo confirmed that Basso had recovered fully after undergoing surgery in Milan and that he would be able to race again.[27] However the following month after Basso had talks with the team it was announced that he would retire from competition, whilst remaining with Tinkoff-Saxo in a management role.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Basso lives in Cassano Magnago in Gallarate, Italy. He lives with his wife and four children.

He has now purchased land in his home town to start a blueberry farm where he hopes to employ locals as well as make an investment for his retirement from cycling as the future of the European economy is uncertain.[29] Basso has already begun planting, his farm is called "Il Borgo" or "the village".[30]


1st National Under-23 Road Race Championships
5th Giro dell'Emilia
1st Stages 1 & 3b Regio-Tour
2001 – Fassa Bortolo
1st Stage 1 Tour Méditerranéen
1st Stage 5 Bicicleta Vasca
20th Overall Tour of Austria
1st Stage 5
2nd La Fleche Wallonne
6th Giro dell'Emilia
2002 – Fassa Bortolo
2nd Giro dell'Emilia
3rd Liège-Bastogne-Liège
11th Overall Tour de France
1st Overall Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
2003 – Fassa Bortolo
2nd Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian
5th Overall Volta a Catalunya
10th Liège-Bastogne-Liège
7th Overall Tour de France
2004 – Team CSC
1st Giro dell'Emilia
3rd Overall Tour de France
1st Stage 12
1st Grand Prix Jyske Bank
2nd Overall Tour Méditerranéen
3rd Giro di Lombardia
8th Liège-Bastogne-Liège
7th Overall Tour de Romandie
2005 – Team CSC
1st Overall Danmark Rundt
1st Stages 1, 2, 3 & 5
28th Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Stages 17 & 18
Held Pink Jersey pink.svg Jersey Between Stage 11-12
2nd Overall Tour de France
4th Overall Critérium International
2006 – Team CSC
1st Jersey pink.svg Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Stages 5 (TTT), 8, 16 & 20
1st Overall Critérium International
1st Stage 2
1st Stage 2b Circuit de la Sarthe
6th Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
2008 – Liquigas
3rd Japan Cup
2009 – Liquigas
1st Giro del Trentino
1st AC Arona
4th Overall Giro d'Italia
4th Overall Vuelta a España
5th Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
5th Overall Tour of San Luis
2010 – Liquagis-Domo
1st Jersey pink.svg Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Stages 4 (TTT) & 15
1st Gran Premio Industria e Commercio Artigianato Carnaghese
5th Giro del Trentino
9th Overall Tour de France
2011 – Liquagis-Cannondale
1st Gran Premio di Lugano
1st Overall Giro di Padania
1st Stage 4
4th Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
7th Overall Volta a Catalunya
7th Overall Tour de France
2012 – Liquagis-Cannondale
1st Japan Cup
5th Overall Giro d'Italia
2013 – Cannondale Pro Cycling Team
4th Overall Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali
8th Overall Tour de Pologne
9th Overall Tour of Beijing
10th Overall Vuelta a Burgos
2014 – Cannondale
15th Overall Giro d'Italia

Grand Tour General Classification results timeline

Grand Tour 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Pink jersey Giro WD 52 28 1 3 1 5 15 51
Yellow jersey Tour WD 11 7 3 2 31 7 25 WD
red jersey Vuelta 4 WD

WD = Withdrew; IP = In Progress

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ivan Basso profile". 
  2. ^ "Cannondale (CAN) – ITA". UCI World Tour. Union Cycliste Internationale. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d John Wilcockson and Andrew Hood (2005-10-27). "Ivan il Terrible: The Charmed Life of Italy's Hottest Star". VeloNews. Archived from the original on 2005-11-02. Retrieved 2005-12-22. 
  4. ^ "Cunego wins Japan Cup". VeloNews. 2008-10-26. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  5. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/31/sports/cycling/31sportsbriefs-giro.html?_r=0
  6. ^ "Basso nears second Giro win, one the UCI says is clean". Cycling Weekly. 29 May 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Akinde, Michael (2006-04-29). "The Smiling Assassin: Ivan Basso Part 1". DailyPeloton. 
  8. ^ Akinde, Michael (2006-04-29). "The Smiling Assassin: Ivan Basso Part 2". DailyPeloton. 
  9. ^ "www.cyclingnews.com presents the 89th Giro d'Italia". cyclingnews.com. 
  10. ^ "www.cyclingnews.com presents the 89th Giro d'Italia". cyclingnews.com. 
  11. ^ Lowe, Felix (2006-07-18). "Riis denies Basso Discovery link". Eurosport.com (Eurosport). 
  12. ^ "Basso may consider non-ProTour teams". CyclingNews.com. 2006-10-19. 
  13. ^ "Ivan Basso To Leave Team CSC". Team CSC. 2006-10-18. Retrieved 2006-10-18. 
  14. ^ Maloney, Tim (2006-10-29). "Good news for Basso & other riders implicated in Operación Puerto : Spanish federation shelves files, opens disciplinary investigations of Saiz, others". CyclingNews.com. 
  15. ^ Brown, Gregor (2007-02-23). "Basso invests in Leipheimer". CyclingNews.com. 
  16. ^ "Basso and Bettini crash in Tirreno-Adriatico". CyclingNews.com. 2007-03-17. 
  17. ^ "Basso's request to leave Team Discovery Channel is granted". Cyclingnews.com. 2007-05-01. Retrieved 2007-05-01. 
  18. ^ Agence France Presse "Basso admits only to 'attempted' doping". VeloNews. – 8 May 2007.
  19. ^ Brown, Gregor (2007-05-03). "CONI adjourns Basso hearing : New date to be announced in 'ongoing' investigation". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  20. ^ David, Ariel (2007-05-08). "Basso admits role in doping scandal". AP News. Archived from the original on 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  21. ^ Brown, Gregor (2007-05-08). "Basso: "It was only attempted doping"". CyclingNews.com. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  22. ^ "Basso handed two-year doping ban". BBC Sport. 2007-06-15. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  23. ^ "Italy's Ivan Basso wins second Giro d'Italia title". BBC Sport (BBC). 2010-05-30. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  24. ^ Wynn, Nigel (19 August 2014). "Ivan Basso signs with Tinkoff-Saxo team for 2015". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  25. ^ Ryan, Barry (13 July 2015). "Ivan Basso diagnosed with testicular cancer". Cyclingnews.com (Immediate Media Company). Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  26. ^ "Ivan Basso leaves Tour de France with testicular cancer". VeloNews (Competitor Group, Inc.). 13 July 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  27. ^ "Ivan Basso given all-clear to race again after testicular cancer operation". theguardian.com. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  28. ^ "Ivan Basso announces retirement from professional cycling". cyclingnews.com. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  29. ^ "Ivan Basso starts a blueberry farm in his home town". velonation.com. 
  30. ^ forzaivan. "FORZA IVAN !". http://forzaivan.sportblog.fr/. 

External links[edit]