Anti-doping campaigner Christophe Bassons given compensation by French federation after ban

Bassons was suspended for 12 months after missing a doping control during a mountain bike race in 2012

Christophe Bassons was an outspoken critic of doping practices
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Prominent critic of doping Christophe Bassons has been awarded compensation by the French cycling federation after he was banned in 2012.

The Frenchman was banned from racing for 12 months after he missed a doping control at a mountain bike race.

Bassons had abandoned the race and began travelling home, later learning he had been selected for a doping test only after it was too late to return.

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The 44-year-old has now received €31,691 (£28,000) in compensation and a further €1,500 in legal fees, according to French newspaper L’Equipe. (opens in new tab)

Bassons rode for the Festina team between 1996 to 1998 but was an outspoken critic of doping.

He was forced out of the 1999 Tour de France after riders, including Lance Armstrong, approached him about his public statements on performance enhancing drugs.

After retirement in 2001, Bassons continued to ride mountain bike races and became an anti-doping representative.

In 2017, Bassons was integral in catching an amateur racer who had been motor-doping, even chasing the suspect in his car when he tried to avoid detection in France.

Bassons, who now works as in the inter-regional anti-doping representative, received information that the rider was suspected of using a hidden motor at several races over the summer.

The 43-year-old amateur rider won several third-category races in France’s south-west, reportedly using two bikes when competing, one fitted with a motor and the other without.

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While racing at a mountain bike marathon in 2012, Bassons abandoned 20km before the finish and started the journey home, but two and a half hours later was told he had been selected for doping control.

After missing the doping test, Bassons was suspended for a year, which was later reduced to one month.

The Court of Appeal of the Administrative Court ruled in favour of Bassons after the FFC tried to appeal the decision to pay him compensation, but the courts sided with the former rider.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.