Basso out of Vuelta. A captain no more.

 

Ivan Basso does not have “good sensations.” That cycling cliche is one of Basso’s favorites but who is willing to say that Basso still has a grand tour podium left in his legs.

He called his abandon on stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana “the saddest day of my career.” It might also be the final day of his career as a “protagonist” in the Giro or Vuelta — Basso having given up on the Tour de France last season.

While Chris Horner’s 41 year old diesel engine still manages to run at high speed, it appears that Basso, age 35, is done as a team captain in a three week tour.  ”I don’t know what to say. I don’t really believe in luck or destiny but for sure this season has been terrible for me,” said Basso.

That pretty much sounds like a concession speech: I’m throwing in the towel and maybe I’ll just ride for my Italian buddy Vincenzo Nibali at Astana next year and help him beat Chris Froome and Sky in the Tour.

Not too many job options for Basso although he could shave his head and go the Stefano Garzelli route: never retire and make your make in the smaller, shorter races in italy. That doesn’t sound like Basso to us.

We will miss Basso’s signature grimace on those big grand tour climbs. But perhaps we’ll still see the grimace as he leads Nibali up the Alps next year in France.

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