Bassons misses post-race test and is handed one year ban
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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bassons misses post-race test and is handed one year ban

by Shane Stokes at 8:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Rider had withdrawn before end of race, states he was not told in time that his name was randomly selected

Thirteen years after he spoke out against doping in the 1999 Tour de France, earning the ire of Lance Armstrong and eventually being ostracised and pushed out of the sport, Christophe Bassons has himself fallen foul of the regulations in this area.

The Frenchman missed a post race control at the French mountain bike marathon championships on September first, in what he insists was an innocent mistake. He has been handed a one year ban as a result.

“I abandoned the race twenty kilometres from the finish,” the 38 year old told l’Equipe. “When I stopped, a member of the race organization asked me my name, wrote down my bib number and immediately informed the PC of the race.

“I recognize the error of not having waited until the end of the race to see if my name appeared on the list of riders to control. I took the road to Bordeaux [where he lives – ed.], and it was only two and a half hours after my abandon that I received a call from the timekeeper of the race saying that I had to be checked. It was too late to return to race location.”

Basson’s mistake appears to be a relatively innocent one and while the regulations state that he should be punished, he said he can’t understand how things turned out. “Why did they not tell me much earlier? Why have I been given such a heavy penalty? I do not understand.”

The 38 year old raced as a pro between 1996 and 2001. He was part of the Festina team between 1996 and 1998, and was named by many on the team as being the one rider who never took banned substances.

He competed in the 1999 Tour de France for La Francaise des Jeux and was writing a column for the Le Parisien newspaper during the race. In one of the columns he said that the peloton was shocked by Armstrong’s dominance, and later told BBC Radio about the bullying he faced as a result.

“He grabbed my by the shoulder, because he knew that everyone would be watching, and he knew that at that moment, he could show everyone that he was the boss. He stopped me, and he said what I was saying wasn't true, what I was saying was bad for cycling, that I mustn’t say it, that I had no right to be a professional cyclist, that I should quit cycling, that I should quit the Tour, and finished by saying [*beep*] you. . . . I was depressed for 6 months. I was crying all of the time. I was in a really bad way.”

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