He is a big enigma, Basso, right now.
Basso has had two careers, pre-OP and post-OP. At the apogee, before the fall, Basso truly seemed to be the best stage racer in the world after the Texan retired, having also finished 3rd in L-B-L as well as good placing’s in other important events. He even became a good time trialist, the ability of which, in the second part of his career, has dissipated completely.
Of all the consequences of OP, this is perhaps the most sensational. His non-ability to ride fast against the clock. Whereas it seemed as if Basso, the climber, had returned to his former level, when winning on the Zoncolon and as a result his second Giro. But then we had the lackluster performances at the Tours and the Giro since then, so that one can only conclude that when he was racing for Riis against Armstrong, Basso was on the best of programs, without that he isn't at the same level. Does this mean that his 2010 Giro victory was on pane et aqua?
As far as this Giro goes, of course, it all depends if Basso can reach the level of 2010. If he does, then yes, if not, no. Right now that's impossible to say. We have to wait till the 12th stage of the Giro to get a response to our inquiry. One factor in his favor, however, is the lack of competition. Scarponi doesn't seem to be at a high level like last year. Cunego? Fuglsang is out, but Frank Schleck is in, though as a last minute sub. Does the Luxembourgese have the form and the will to fight for the Giro till Milan? In any case the French race suits him more, though this appears to be a "lite" Giro without the usual sadistic climbs. At the same time the Tour of California has siphoned off the rest who may have been present, purely due to the commercial interests, which is a shame. The Giro deserves more respect from the UCI and it is scandalous that they moved the US event to the Giro time in the calendar. In the age of hyper-specialization and sponsorship priorities this has meant that the Giro stopped being fought over by the biggest international champions, who didn't want to risk-sacrifice a Tour by taking on two Grand Tours in one season (Contador’s failure last season may have ended all possibility that this will change); so the Giro didn't need another obstacle from the official governing body of pro cycling to its history and dignity. While many who ride two GTs now opt for the Vuelta instead, in light of the subsequent Worlds event. I think this is why Zomengan tried to make the Giro parcours as spectacular as possible to compensate.
At any rate Basso can win this Giro, but that all depends on him.