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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Ivan Basso
BASSO FACTFILE
DOB: 26/11/1977
Nationality: Italian
Best Tour: 11th overall - 2002

The 25-year-old Italian was one of the finds of last year's Tour de France, impressing throughout to finish 11th overall and walk away with the white jersey for the Tour's best young rider.

He may have finished almost 20 minutes behind Lance Armstrong but is some way off his peak as a rider.

This year his season preparations have been far more focused on the Tour.

Last time around he raced for 50 to 55 days in competitive events ahead of July's spectacle. This time he has kept it to 30-35 and feels far fresher for the Alps and Pyrenees.

He has been playing down his ambitions for the race.

Recently he said: "Improving the result I got last year will be a fundamental step in thie right direction.

"The past Tour de France made me realise I could hit the podium, although next year even a top-five spot would be enough to me."

As with many previous white jersey wearers, Basso has already been tipped as a future Tour winner.

But the Italian needs to improve drastically against the clock - he struggled to match the major contenders in the time trials last year - to trouble Armstrong.

So far this season he has failed to shine in the bigger events.

His best result in the World Cup Classics was 10th in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege.





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