In an interview published in Le Monde, Christophe Bassons discussed Lance Armstrong’s doping charges and his own fall from grace in the peloton.
In the mid 1990s, Bassons was a promising 20-something French cyclist. He was the only rider on Festina not implicated when that team famously was busted and thrown off the 1998 Tour de France. Speaking out against blood doping, he was ostracized not just by his new team in 1999, but the entire peloton. He abandoned the 1999 Tour de France due to stress and left pro cycling in 2001.
“He [Armstrong] lives only to be placed over the mortals,” Bassons told Le Monde. Bassons characterized Armstrong’s abandonment of the fight as maintaining an illusion of control, part of his “…need to feel superior, to crush the competition.”
Asked about riders who return to the peloton after a serving a suspension for doping, such as Alberto Contador, Bassons didn’t understand how they didn’t feel shame. Here’s the complete interview, in French.
The Cycling News has an extensive timeline of investigations into alleged doping by Armstrong since 1999.