Twisted Spoke has a new favorite French guy and his name is former rider Christophe Bassons.
His interview with Cyclingnews on the subject of Landis, Armstrong and doping is filled with so much wisdom and thoughtfulness that we’re ready to nominate him to take over the UCI. Or maybe he should take over for Mubarak in Egypt.
Here’s a Bassons nugget:
“To me, courage is all about overcoming fear, and I was never scared. I was just lucky – I’d had a balanced upbringing, lots of love in my life, and no void which made me want to dope. Refusing to take drugs was easy for me, whereas other people have things missing in their lives which mean that’s not the case. Doping is always a response to a void, a need – whether it’s for money, or success, or love, or something else. That’s why it’s a mistake to fight the war on doping in terms of health – because, if you actually analyse it, doping responds to a need there too, because you can be healthier doing the Tour de France on drugs than without anything.”
That’s one paragraph from Bassons and three intelligent statements — about fear, the reason behind doping, and the fight to control it. This is the kind of guy you want to have a few glasses of wine with at a Parisian cafe. He’s probably read Nietzsche and Plato and Freud and not just back issues of L’Equipe.
We have to thank Floyd Landis and his seven hour interview with Paul Kimmage for bringing Bassons back into the spotlight along with the other Armstrong whipping boy Filippo Simeoni.
When Landis stirs the pot, he makes sure the concoction is boiling hot. There’s enough material in his Kimmage piece to keep cycling journalists busy for months. It’s his War & Peace, an opus that reaches deep into the foundations of the sport of cycling.
For his part, Bassons takes a very measured view of cycling and the rationales for doping.“Everyone has their own sense of legitimate and illegitimate, which is different from what is licit and illicit. For example, I might think it’s legitimate to drive my car at 90kph in an 80kph zone, if me being late means that my son will walk out into the school playground and not see his dad. For Richard Virenque, doping was legitimate because, for some reason, he needed the love and admiration of the public. For some riders from Eastern Europe it’s legitimate because they need money for their families – which is hard to condemn,” said Bassons.
Christophe, we’re buying the first round in Paris. Where should we met?