Ivan Basso's 49-year-old mother died on Thursday morning after nine months of suffering with acute cPIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Instead of preparing for what could be the year of his definitive consecration as a grand tour superstar, Ivan Basso was contemplating personal tragedy on Thursday as his mother died at the age of 49. For the last nine months Nives Basso had been seriously ill with cancer of the stomach and the liver. Basso had spoken publicly of his mother's illness during the 2004 Tour de France after his friend Lance Armstrong offered to use in influence in the cancer community to secure the best possible treatment for Nives. The Italian rider subsequently appealed to the press not to broach the subject in interviews. Basso admitted to procycling in December that it had been "very difficult to reconcile the joy of finishing third in the Tour de France with the anguish of my mother's illness", but reiterated his plea for privacy. Nives Basso passed away this morning at home in Cassano Magnago, where the CSC rider also lives. She had spent the past two months in a specialised treatment centre in Siena. "I apologise to everyone who knows me and everyone who would like to speak to me," Basso said this morning. "I would like to call all of the people who love me, too - and fortunately for me there are a lot of them - but I just can't do it. I hope that everyone understands what we are going through at this time." The bereavement will no doubt curb the momentum which Basso was gathering in his preparations for the 2005 season. In recent days, the 27-year-old had been piling up base miles in four to six-hour training sessions with his CSC team-mates near Florence, in Tuscany. Basso had spoken excitedly about losing the three-kilo legacy of his winter break, his plans to "preview" the key mountain stages of the Giro d'Italia, and a spring programme due to take in the Tour of Reggio Calabria, Criterium International, Tour of the Basque Country and Ardennes Classics.