Ivan Basso has been pleading with fans to believe. Believe in him, and believe in clean cycling. So do you believe in his Giro victory?

It would be easier to believe the Italian if he had been more contrite back in 2007.

All we got was a half admission. There were few people who believed that his blood stored in Madrid was never actually used for doping.

But compared to his 2006 Giro win, his performance this year was more believable.

Four years ago he romped to a huge victory with ease; this year his face was a picture of pain throughout the final week as he dragged himself over the savage climbs of the Dolomites, eventually winning by less than two minutes.

So despite his past, to many it was a believable ride in what was a simply unbelievable race. The drama started on day one back in the Netherlands, and didn’t relent until Sunday’s final stage in Verona.

Crashes, terrible weather and, at times, crazy race routing made the 2010 Giro one of the best races of the past decade.

The Giro is regularly the most interesting Grand Tour as race organiser Angelo Zomegnan takes his event to places that the Tour de France wouldn’t go near, and no single team dominates for three weeks.

The Tour has some way to go if it’s going to rival this year’s Giro for excitement.

Simon Richardson is deputy editor of Cycling Weekly