Ivan the Terrible is a formidable performer on his day, the Italian climber lining up for the Liquigas-Cannondale team in the 2012 race.
Just when you think he's got nothing left in the tank, the 34-year-old will dig deep to power past you on even the steepest of slopes or burst for the line in the Alps and Pyrenees.
The fact he grew up next door to controversial rider Claudio Chiapucci just adds to the intrigue, especially when you put Basso's two-year doping ban back in 2007 into the equation.
He lined up in the Tour peloton for the first time in 2001, a nasty crash curtailing a promising race that included a storming attack on Bastille Day to thrill the massed crowds.
The young rider's white jersey followed in 2002, before he stepped up a gear to finish seventh overall in 2003 ahead of a team switch from Fassa Bortolo to Team CSC.
An exciting stage win in 2004, where he duelled with Lance Armstrong, was sadly combined with poor time trialling leaving the pretender third overall behind the American and Andreas Kloden.
He went one further in 2005, finishing 4:40 behind the saddle legend, setting the stage for a phenomenal Giro d'Italia victory in 2006 where rumours started to circulate about his rising profile.
The infamous Operacion Puerto investigation put paid to Basso for the next two years, his move from Team CSC to Discovery Channel yielding no road action before they ditched him too.
Liquigas were quick to snap him up when his ban ended on 26th October 2008, an encouraging 2009 season leading into a banner 2010 after winning the Giro on the back of an awesome Stage 15 victory.
He finished 32nd in the general classification for the 2010 Tour de France, his first race appearance since 2005, and seventh overall in the 2011 edition.
His fifth place in the 2012 Giro means he comes into Le Tour in decent nick, so the peloton better watch out as another veteran could upset the odds if given the chance.
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