Bassons Book: A Clean Break

As someone brought up Bassons Book, I think it was time it was discussed as it seemed to receive very little attention and considering so many here hold Bassons up as clean hero, that seems sad. I can understand people refusing to read the dopers books but why not Bassons?

Some of the bits that stood out to me personally:

Bassons would have left the sport without having said a word about doping if it had not been for his Festina team-mates naming him as a clean rider. He even gives an example of himself promoting the ometra to a journalist which he admits was very ironic considering the figure he became.

He was adverse to any form of assistance(including legal recovery) but saw no issue with artificially boosting his blood levels by sleeping in an altitude chamber. He says this only worked the one time in 98 after which he had his best run of results, though this was as likely to have been because of a cleaner sport immediately post Festina.

He did give into using recovery products a few times but it seems to have been more his partner that kept him from doping than himself. He usually consulted her when he was having doubts. Perhaps reinforcing the idea you need good people around you.

Bassons was in the top 5 riders(stats wise on capabilities) at Festina during the winter but then ranked near the bottom later in the year.

Not all the people at Festina were pro-doping, Antoine Vayer, Michael Gros and two of the soigneurs, one of whom was Laurent Gros' son were some of the exceptions. It also seemed that some of the riders.management were resigned to doping rather than being willing participants.

Bassons said there were other clean riders post Festina but it was up to them to come forward themselves, even though it was other riders who had brought Bassons to attention and without whom we would never have heard of him. Seems a bit hypocritical.

The closest he gets to naming another clean rider is his friend Patrice Halgand who was also named as a clean cyclist(along with Laurent Lefevre) by a Festina team-mate in the Festina trial. Basson's says Halgand was the closest to him in mindset and would also have benefited greatly from a cleaner peloton but chose to remain quiet. He never states outright that Halgand was definitely clean but that was the impression given.

Basson's quotes his high VO2 and similar physiology to Hinault a few times implying the obvious. However he never mentions the fact that his friend Halgand won 16 races during Basson's time in the peloton. Was Halgand just more talented or was there something else?

Basson's actually had a good relationship with Philipe Gaumont, regarded as the craziest of all the dopers. They both disliked the hypocrisy of cycling even though they were on the extreme sides of the fence.

Probably more to come but as always, it was not as black as white as many make out. It is clear that Basson's was tempted to dope on more than one occasion but with the right support, chose the right path due to those around him inclduing some on the Festina team which would seem unlikely to most.

Good read, everyone should give it a go.
 
May 26, 2010
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Bassons also states in his book, he was given his win in the '99 Dauphine as good PR by the peloton. This proves how even a talent like Bassons had no chance against oxygen vector doping.
 
Benotti69 said:
Bassons also states in his book, he was given his win in the '99 Dauphine as good PR by the peloton. This proves how even a talent like Bassons had no chance against oxygen vector doping.
So how did his friend Halgand win 16 times within the same period? Was he gifted all those victories?

After all Basson's said Halgand was the closest in mindset to his way of thinking. If Halgand were doping, I don't think he would have a similar mindset to Bassons'.
 
May 26, 2010
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pmcg76 said:
So how did his friend Halgand win 16 times within the same period? Was he gifted all those victories?
This is the Bassons thread.

pmcg76 said:
After all Basson's said Halgand was the closest in mindset to his way of thinking. If Halgand were doping, I don't think he would have a similar mindset to Bassons'.
Start a Halgand thread.

Sorry to see Basson burst your, 'Bassons winning a stage against EPO users proves others are clean argument', bubble.
 
pmcg76 said:
So how did his friend Halgand win 16 times within the same period? Was he gifted all those victories?

After all Basson's said Halgand was the closest in mindset to his way of thinking. If Halgand were doping, I don't think he would have a similar mindset to Bassons'.
But if Basson's faced some ambiguities when considering recovery aids, maybe Halgand faced the same but chose different. We know that the line between clean and dirty is grey.

I'm making this up as an example, but something like talking with a doc about hypothyroidism: when you're feeling like trash, and someone says this is what is wrong and we can fix it, some may consider it treating a condition or enhancing what is really just natural processes. All legal, but not necessarily right.

Or Asthma meds. Or off season corticosteroids. Halgand could be clean, but not necessarily pan y agua
 
I have not read the book, but I think the perspective of the involuntary hypocrite should be better understood.

We could wax philosophic and discuss how humans have unrealistically high expectations of themselves to act morally in given a situation, but rarely actually do when they are actually a participant...

But his point is true: it is really hard to hold the ethical/moral high ground in doping, to be active in creating a clean culture and fighting the doping culture, and keeping your job. The fact that there is only one name that pulled it off, Bassons, compared to the dozens(hundreds?) of clean riders that were bullied, pressured, or disillusioned and squzeed of the back of the sport, speaks to its difficulty.

While the criticism of TJVG, Talansky, Kittel types is warranted in some cases, the word hypocrite is thrown around very often. At this point, I would prefer that riders feel that speaking out about one issue, even if they are quiet on the next, is a safe thing to do. We would all be better off with the little bit of extra truth, if we want to transition to something more comprehensive.
 
More Strides than Rides said:
But if Basson's faced some ambiguities when considering recovery aids, maybe Halgand faced the same but chose different. We know that the line between clean and dirty is grey.

I'm making this up as an example, but something like talking with a doc about hypothyroidism: when you're feeling like trash, and someone says this is what is wrong and we can fix it, some may consider it treating a condition or enhancing what is really just natural processes. All legal, but not necessarily right.

Or Asthma meds. Or off season corticosteroids. Halgand could be clean, but not necessarily pan y agua
That is a possibility but would an athlete doing just legal recovery be pushed above someone who sees themselves on the same level as Hinault. I really don't think legal recovery gives you that much of a boost.

Isn't this the debate wrt the pre EPO era, the really talented guys could still win regardless of what doping others were doing so when you reduce that level to just recovery products, seems unlikely.

As I said Basons did try recovery and an Altitude chambers a few times as a way of improving his performances. Surely that is as ethically wrong as using legal recovery products. He didn't see it that way but then that comes down to opinion.
 
Nov 14, 2013
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pmcg76 said:
As I said Basons did try recovery and an Altitude chambers a few times as a way of improving his performances. Surely that is as ethically wrong as using legal recovery products. He didn't see it that way but then that comes down to opinion.
No, I don't agree. If it is legally allowed then it is not ethically wrong.
 
Benotti69 said:
Bassons also states in his book, he was given his win in the '99 Dauphine as good PR by the peloton. This proves how even a talent like Bassons had no chance against oxygen vector doping.
How do you know that he is a big talent? I'm just curious about it.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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burning said:
How do you know that he is a big talent? I'm just curious about it.
VO2max same as Lance, all his ergo tests results were off the bell curve, even for the pros. not as good as lemond, but would have put him in the upper most tier of the peloton.
 
pmcg76 said:
That is a possibility but would an athlete doing just legal recovery be pushed above someone who sees themselves on the same level as Hinault. I really don't think legal recovery gives you that much of a boost.

Isn't this the debate wrt the pre EPO era, the really talented guys could still win regardless of what doping others were doing so when you reduce that level to just recovery products, seems unlikely.

As I said Basons did try recovery and an Altitude chambers a few times as a way of improving his performances. Surely that is as ethically wrong as using legal recovery products. He didn't see it that way but then that comes down to opinion.
This period is before my time. I have never heard the name Halgand before this thread. That being said, if he was that prolific of a performer, he doesn't sound as clean as Bassons makes him out to be (or as Festina made him out to be) I don't think best practices are enough to overcome O2 voctor doping.

There are already threads about the difference between the ethical line and the legal line in doping, which we can bump back up if we want to hash it out.
 
More Strides than Rides said:
This period is before my time. I have never heard the name Halgand before this thread. That being said, if he was that prolific of a performer, he doesn't sound as clean as Bassons makes him out to be (or as Festina made him out to be) I don't think best practices are enough to overcome O2 voctor doping.

There are already threads about the difference between the ethical line and the legal line in doping, which we can bump back up if we want to hash it out.
Halgand was a climber, very much in the style of Blel Kadri today. He would often try to get the polka dot the first week of the TdF, and/or get in a break and try to resist, winning a few in the process. Much easier for him than being an ITT guy like Bassons, good all around, but not good enough to actually win an ITT (like Chavanel these days), or fast enough to win a group or bunch sprint.

In a nutshell, getting in a break and managing a little cushion can make a clean guy win races. It probably is the only way.
 
Tonton said:
Halgand was a climber, very much in the style of Blel Kadri today. He would often try to get the polka dot the first week of the TdF, and/or get in a break and try to resist, winning a few in the process. Much easier for him than being an ITT guy like Bassons, good all around, but not good enough to actually win an ITT (like Chavanel these days), or fast enough to win a group or bunch sprint.

In a nutshell, getting in a break and managing a little cushion can make a clean guy win races. It probably is the only way.
Thanks.

Has anyone else read the book? Seems less popular/less marketed, which is refreshing as far as recent cycling autobiographies go.
 
Nov 14, 2013
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I've read it. Took a few chapters to really hook me in but once i got in to it it was a real page turner. Seems like a nice soul and a very together guy.

He said his ftp was 400w, does anyone know Lemonds?
 
Sep 29, 2012
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ralphbert said:
I've read it. Took a few chapters to really hook me in but once i got in to it it was a real page turner. Seems like a nice soul and a very together guy.

He said his ftp was 400w, does anyone know Lemonds?
How heavy was he? P::W W/kg is a better indicator than raw power.
 
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