Ivan "il Terribile" Basso had one of the most memorable season's in the sport in 2006, but not for what he did on the road. The Italian started the year beautifully with victory in the Critérium International and then went onto dominate the Tour of Italy GC by a full nine minutes in front of his nearest challenger. Basso headed into the Tour de France as the heavy favourite, but was suspended on the eve of the race after being linked by Spanish officials to a drug ring in Spain. In the fall Basso parted ways with his CSC team and long-time mentor Bjarne Riis before ultimately being cleared to race by his Italian Olympic Committee. Basso then signed with old rival Lance Armstrong's former Discovery team and is now planning a grand attack on two Grand Tours (Giro, Le Tour), but first he needs permission to race from Grande Boucle organisers.