Basso is a huge question mark. Most dopers that come back clean turn (back) into average riders, (or return to doping). Basso showed so much talent for so long though, one would have to think he might be able to rise to the top. We'll know soon.
It was my understanding that Astana had a tacit agreement among the cyclists on their team, that Contador would ride for Armstrong in the Giro and that Armstrong would return the favor at the Tour of France for Contador with the Spain grand tour up for grabs. Am I wrong?
Well I don't know Ullrich very well, but it seemed to me that he lacked the intensity, mental power and singular ambition LA had, and definitely cracked and was overshadowed by LA. I don't quite understand what you mean by "leadership" here, because cycling is not necessarily a sport that one leads his domestiques to victory. A team leader is more about someone that is established as the having the best chance of winning in the team, and the rest team will work for him and protect him. I see two different things btw "winning the Tour" and "winning the team competition", for example Ag2r placed second place in team competition, but none of its riders placed within top 10.