Italian coach Sassi fights brain cancer
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Italian coach Sassi fights brain cancer

by Samuel Morrison at 6:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Aldo Sassi, Italian trainer for Cadel Evans and Ivan Basso, is fighting brain cancer and will receive radiation treatment today.

Doctors recently diagnosed him with an advanced-level tumour after he was complaining of strong headaches during his work at the Mapei Sport training centre.

"One morning I woke up with a strong headache and it caused me to be annoying to my colleague for four days. Doctor [Claudio] Pecci, my friend and colleague, said, 'Aldo, let's go to the hospital,'" Sassi told La Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday, his 51st birthday, after having an operation to remove the tumour.

"The doctor told me he would operate immediately and leave a few chemotherapeutic wafers in place of the tumour."

Sassi worked as one of the youngest trainers with Francesco Moser in Mexico City for the 1984 hour record ride. From 1999 to 2002, he worked as the Managing Director for famed Italian team Mapei.

The last years have been busy for Sassi, who helped Basso during his comeback from a doping suspension and Evans to win the World Championships. Both riders are competing for the Giro d'Italia overall title next month and still receiving updates from Sassi.

"I had the nurse hold off taking me into the operating room because I had to finish Ivan's training programme for the Giro."

Basso finished fourth overall last year. Evans last raced the Giro d'Italia in 2002 with team Mapei, when he held the race leader's pink jersey for one day and finished 14th overall. Today, Evans is training on the Plan de Corones climb and Basso is racing the Tour de Romandie, but both are thinking about their trainer.

Sassi explained that the life expectancy for his level of cancer is no more than 15 months, but that he intends to keep fighting.

"When life gives you a surprise you have to respond. I will overcome this illness," he continued. "I have plans to develop the Castellanza [Mapei] centre, I want to ride up the Stelvio and I've already booked tickets for the Worlds in Australia."

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