Former Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso will return to the Tour de France next year following a four-year absence.

Basso finished third in 2004 and second in 2005 behind seven-time champion Lance Armstrong. He was not allowed to start in 2006 following his involvement in the Operation Puerto blood doping scandal.

Basso most likely will be one of the three Liquigas team leaders next July.

The 32-year-old Italian returned to racing this season after serving a two-year suspension. He finished fifth at the Giro and fourth at the Spanish Vuelta.