Pau (France): Italian rider Ivan Basso is quitting the Tour de France after revealing yesterday he has testicular cancer.

The two-time former Giro d’Italia winner was to be a key support rider for one of the favourites, Alberto Contador, in the mountain stages beginning today. But instead the 37-year-old -- who has previously served a two-year doping ban -- said he is heading back to Italy for treatment.

Ivan Basso. Pic/AFP

"Unfortunately. I have a bad announcement to give to you guys," Basso said at the Tinkoff-Saxo team’s hotel in Pau on yesterday’s rest day. "In Stage No 5, I had a really small crash and on the crash I touched my testicle on the saddle. For a few days I felt some pain. Yesterday (Sunday) our doctor spoke with the doctor of the Tour and we decided to go to make a special analysis in hospital. The examination gave me bad news: I have a small cancer in the left testicle. So, it’s easy to understand that I have to stop and go back to Italy. Our doctor is already in contact with the specialist in Italy to fix the operation as soon as possible. I can’t say to you more details because we discovered this two hours ago, so that’s all."