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Basso back – as is Hunter

Italian Ivan Basso won his first race since returning from a two-year doping suspension, taking the Tour of Trentino, a day after South Africa’s Robbie Hunter had claimed the stage three sprint.

The 31-year-old’s compatriot Danilo Di Luca won the fourth and final stage, a 214.2km ride, with Basso finishing fifth. It was the first victory for Basso since he won the 2006 Giro d’Italia.

Basso, who rides for Liquigas, was suspended for two years in 2007 over suspicions that he was involved in the Operation Puerto drugs scandal in Spain.

On Friday riday, Barloworld’s Hunter had won stage three after a sprint finish ended the 165.5km ride between the Italian town of Tesero and the Austrian ski resort of Innervillgraten.

Former Tour de France stage winner┬áHunter triumphed over the Italian duo Stefano Garzelli (Acqua e Sapone) and Danilo Di Luca (LPR), who┬áwere on Hunter’s wheel. Di Luca, the winner of the 2007 Tour of Italy, was ably assisted by his team’s ‘domestiques’ in the closing kilometres, but Hunter proved up to the task. He was credited with a time of 4hr 9min 16sec.

Saturday’s fourth and final stage, featuring two climbs,┬áwas a 214.2km run from Sillian in Austria back across the Italian border to Pejo Fonti.