photo by Bob Martin for SI
It's old news but I only just saw that the bookmark I made for this story is a few months out of date.
Sure he wasn't expecting to win. Not that it makes up for lost career or wages but it's a great story.
Who is The Unknown Rider, the most deserving cyclist who stuck it out clean?
There's no way of determining how far down those results tables we'd have to go to find him. But we do have the example of a Frenchman named Christophe Bassons. And for his courage, principle and symbolism, he's my Sportsman of the Year -- the year we'll remember as the one in which we finally lanced, as it were, cycling's boil.
The Bassons story begins on the eve of the 1998 Tour, which Armstrong sat out while recovering from testicular cancer. That's when French police found a small pharmacopeia in a car driven by a Festina team soigneur. Even as the team was expelled from the race, Festina riders told policemen to spare Bassons, for they knew him to be the one member of their team who refused to dope on principle.