Top names in cycling pay tribute to Aldo Sassi
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Top names in cycling pay tribute to Aldo Sassi

by Shane Stokes at 8:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Italian coach passes away due to brain tumour

Ivan Basso Aldo SassiMany well known riders from the world of cycling have been paying tribute to the Italian trainer Dr. Aldo Sassi, who succumbed to a brain tumour last night. Sassi had been ill for quite some time, and said recently that he had been told that he should live for several more months. Sadly, this was not the case.

Sassi was the head coach at the Mapei Centre and had worked with may big names in the sport, starting with Francesco Moser over 25 years ago. More recently, he was the trainer of 2009 world champion Cadel Evans, 2010 Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso, and this autumn began working with both Riccardo Ricco and the Lampre-Farnese Vini team.

The 51 year old had a reputation as a strong anti-doping advocate, running a rigorous system of testing including whole-body haemoglobin measurements. He said that any rider who worked with him had to agree to this testing, and his collaboration with individuals enhanced their reputation as clean competitors.

Because of this, controversial climber Riccò said that he wanted to work with him. Sassi agreed with this, but only on the condition that he pledged to ride without any banned substances. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Sassi concluded his meeting with Riccò by telling him, “I have a life expectancy that goes as far as July: you’re my last gamble.”

Evans was one of many who reacted to his passing today. “Thanks to all who remember the great man Aldo Sassi,” he wrote on his Twitter feed. Less than three months ago he had spoken of Sassi’s bravery in flying to the world road race championships in Melbourne.

“He has four untreatable tumours in the upper part of his brain. Just for him to make the trip out here was something,'' Evans told the Sydney Morning Herald. He said that Sassi was a motivation for him, giving him reason to keep pushing hard despite having been badly injured in the Tour de France.

“Most of the people in my [situation] would have stopped their season after the Tour. I had a broken arm, and I was out. I want to fight it to the end while Aldo is still around with us and give it everything I've got, as he has given [so much] to my career since we've started working together.

“'His situation has certainly pushed me a lot further than I would have otherwise gone this year. That's what got me through, actually, thinking of the difficulty he, and particularly his family, are going through.”

Basso and Michael Rogers are two others who have been working with him in recent seasons. “Ciao Aldo your friendship and thought will be always in my heart,” wrote the Giro champion on his Twitter feed. He attached a screen grab of himself and Sassi together at the Giro (pictured above).

“RIP Aldo. Thank you for everything you gave & taught me!” wrote Rogers, echoing the thoughts of many in the sport.

VeloNation would like to express our sympathies to Aldo Sassi’s family, friends and colleagues. May he rest in peace.


Initial reactions from the world of cycling:

Ivan Basso: Ciao Aldo your friendship and thought will be always in my heart..

Michael Rogers: RIP Aldo. Thank you for everything you gave & taught me!

Cadel Evans: Thanks to all who remember the great man Aldo Sassi....

Chiara Passerini [Cadel’s wife]: It's very very sad.

Lance Armstrong: Sad to hear about the passing of Aldo Sassi. May he RIP.

Robbie McEwen: RIP Aldo Sassi, condolences to his family and all those close to him which were many.

Charly Wegelius: Goodbye Aldo, I will miss you.

Manuel Quinziato: Just heard that Dr. Aldo Sassi passed away! Condolences to his family and all the guys of Mapei Center! R.I.P.

Allan Davis: Thank you Aldo Sassi you helped me a lot in my first year as a pro!!!!!! Respect forever from my family, and regards to your Family amico!!!

Thomas Frei: R.I.P. Aldo! Sad news..

Kevin Hulsmans: R.i.P. Aldo Sassi, 1 van de grootste uit het peleton, we gaan je allemaal missen, ciao e .... (RIP Aldo Sassi, 1 of the biggest in the peloton, we will all miss you. Goodbye and…)

Brian Nygaard: Aldo Sassi, RIP. Il ciclismo ha perso un vero grande (Cycling has lost a true great). Thoughts go out to his family, friends and colleagues.

Cycling Australia: Vale Aldo Sassi for your humanity, passion for cycling & love of life. You will be missed. Our thoughts are with your family.

Mike Tomalaris (journalist): Thank you Aldo Sassi for making world cycling a better place and for indirectly producing Aussie sporting legends.

New Pathways for Pro Cycling (anti-doping conference held before world road race championships): RIP Aldo and thanks for your wonderful support.

Bike Pure: RIP Aldo Sassi. I was fortunate enough to be there to hear his speech at the anti-doping conference in Geelong.


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