A Clean Break: My Story – By Christophe Bassons
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GIVEN a level playing field, who knows how far Christophe Bassons might have travelled in the murky world of professional cycling.
It was never level in his era but spiked almost as high as one of those gut-wrenching Tour de France ascents of the Alps.
Bassons refused to join the gang when blood-boosting was rife. His Festina team attempted to bully him into cheating but he was having none of it.
And when the young Frenchman spoke out, there was Lance Armstrong, daddy of the dopers, to manhandle and humiliate him in front of the peloton.
He turned professional at 21 on New Year's Day 1996 with more than a modicum of talent.
Five years later his career was over ... " turfed out by the cheats of the peloton who were still imposing their law."
This is a beautifully written book and Bassons is at his best in passages relating to a man stripped of the Tour de France titles he seized every year from 1999 to 2005.
"Lance Armstrong. Like an emperor, he continued to crush everyone at the Tour, stamping on the pedals when the moment seemed right to knock out his opponents ... sometimes he gave the signs of being a man in trouble, playing it for laughs, grimacing – before delivering the final blow."
They met again in December, Armstrong was drinking vodka and nervously scratching a table as Bassons tried to recruit him for his anti-doping programme on behalf of the French Ministry of Sport and Culture. Mr Clean takes no satisfaction in the discomfort of his old nemesis.
Christophe Bassons is bigger than that, but still fearful: "Several riders are dead ... because of the way they were rejected.
"Maybe Lance is stronger than I imagine but I don't want to hear that he has been found hanging from a ceiling, because I think it is possible."
We've teamed up with Sports Book of the Month and have a copy of A Clean Break: My Story by Christophe Bassons to give away. To win this week's sports book, go to their website (www.sportsbookofthemonth.com) and answer the following question:
Where in Yorkshire did the 2014Tour de France start from?