When he won the white jersey in the 2002 Tour de France, many tipped Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) for big things in the years to come. Podium positions in the 2004 and 2005 Tours were impressive, and it seemed likely that the Italian would be the natural successor to Lance Armstrong. However, after missing a number of Tours due to his involvement with Operacion Puerto, the Italian's chances have been limited.
In 2011, Basso chose to forgo his Giro d'Italia defense in favour of focusing solely on the Tour. At 33-years-of-age the Italian will see this year's race as one of his last serious attempts at taking top honours in Paris.
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