Excuses Ivan Basso Should Have Used

05.9.2007 | 11:41 am

Yesterday, Ivan Basso said that while he had planned on doping for the 2006 Tour de France, he had never up until that point actually doped, and that all his victories up to that point (and since) are completely legitimate.

Yeah. Sure. Basso was about to inaugurate his doping career on the eve of the Tour de France, the most important race of his career. That’s not quite as believable as a pro cyclist trying a new nutrition plan, or a new training plan, or switch to a new bike or riding position, immediately before starting a grand tour.

I have no problem believing that. Happens all the time.

Basso’s excuse isn’t just bad, it’s startlingly bad. I found myself checking the byline to see if I had written it as fake news.

And then I became interested in a question. Is it possible that Ivan Basso has given the lamest of all possible excuses in the history of lame excuses? Will all future excuses be measured against Basso’s as a percentage? “You say that you were mugged by masked Dutchmen, who bludgeoned you into submission and then injected EPO into you against your will? Well, that’s lame, but only 72% as lame as Basso’s excuse.”

I mean, was this really the best Basso could do? I’m completely addle-brained right now, but even so, I can think of a few excuses that have more credibility than “I was about to dope and had given several bags of blood to Fuentes in order to dope, but I never actually doped, and now that I’m about to be caught I’ve had a sudden attack of conscience.”

For example, I think Basso would have been better off using any of the following:

  • I doped, but only recreationally. “Have you ever tried EPO, man? It is a freaking rush. You’ve got all this extra oxygen going to your brain and you’re suddenly finding you can remember the quadratic equation, which you haven’t thought about since high school. It’s a total freaking rush! I wasn’t doping to be fast, man. I was doping because it’s dope.”
  • I didn’t know it was dope. “Hey, when you’re a pro cyclist, someone’s always jabbing you with one needle or another. I didn’t know I was being doped; I was just rolling up my sleeve and doing what I was told. It never occurred to me that I was suddenly going 7% faster for any other reason than my improved TT position. Also, I didn’t get a clue from my suddenly very-pronounced browline. Nor from my shrunken testicles.”
  • I was making a statement. “Yeah, I was doping, and I’m proud of it. I want to be the best, fastest rider I can be, and if that means taking EPO and percolating pure oxygen through my blood thrice daily, I’m fine with it. In fact, next week, I’m having a second joint placed in my legs, giving me unprecedented leverage in my pedaling power. I’m also having my skull structure modified to be more aerodynamic. Two months from now I will be able to pedal up 30% grades at 48mph. If the UCI wants to be a bunch of Luddites, that’s their problem. The fact is, I will be the fastest man alive, and everyone watching or racing in the Tour de France will know it.”
  • I didn’t know doping was illegal. “Whh? Huh? You mean I shouldn’t have been taking EPO, HGH, steroids, and suffusing my bones with high-tensile titanium alloy? Whoah. I feel so stupid. I’m really, really sorry. It’s just that I’ve been super busy with my training schedule and haven’t really had time to check my email. Seriously, guys, thanks for the heads-up. I’ll stop using right away.”
  • I only doped occasionally. “OK, fine, I was doping, but it’s not like I didn’t have it under control. I’m just a social doper. You know, the occasional testosterone patch on weekends, maybe a vial of EPO on Christmas or special anniversaries. I could totally stop doping any time I want. In fact, I’ll quit it right now. There. I hereby declare myself clean. Let’s race!”

See, that’s five right there. And I’m only quitting because my lunch hour’s almost over. By all means, feel free to help Ivan Basso out by providing excuses he could have / should have used instead of the supremely lame one he went with.


  1. Comment by mark | 05.9.2007 | 12:06 pm

    He could have said that it was the best excuse he could come up with in his attempt to be the first to comment on fatty’s blog!

  2. Comment by trigeeks | 05.9.2007 | 12:12 pm

    I doped, but I didn’t inhale…

  3. Comment by Eufemiano Fuentes | 05.9.2007 | 12:27 pm

    Everyone is doing it. I was merely trying to keep up with the Joneses.

  4. Comment by mark | 05.9.2007 | 12:37 pm

    Please visit the forum thread http://fatcyclist.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2333#2333 to chime in on ways to support FC and family.

  5. Comment by aussie kev | 05.9.2007 | 12:50 pm

    i wanted to email you yesterday to beg you to write a article on basso – but with whats going on in your life thought you could do with out the hassle – however got to work this morning and havnt stopped laughing – awesome – look after yourself

  6. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 05.9.2007 | 1:03 pm

    Hey, at least he didn’t claim it was his unborn twin. Or he could have given a hundred different excuses and conjectures like Landis.

    What he should have said was “Dr. Fuentes was trying to perfect his homemade fruit punch and ran out of space in his fridge. So I offered him the space in mine. I have plenty since I only consume rice cakes and bottled water (you’d have to see the CSC movie “Overcoming”) but fruit punch, I never touch the stuff.”

  7. Comment by TimK | 05.9.2007 | 1:06 pm

    Kind of like Eufemiano said above, but in more of a whiny sibling voice. “Well Tyler and Floyd are DOING IT.”

    Or maybe, “I was thinking about leaving cycling to play professional baseball in America.”

    Or maybe, “I wanted to be on Oprah but she was ignoring me!”

    I’m sick of professional sports. I got far more respect for a father of three with a full time job who can tear it up in a weekend crit than I do for these guys. I am ignoring the Turd de France this year and watching folks who can’t afford to dope.

  8. Comment by wndnh2o | 05.9.2007 | 1:12 pm

    “The other riders said that they wouldn’t play with me if I didn’t dope”…

  9. Comment by TimK | 05.9.2007 | 1:24 pm

    Can’t leave it alone.

    “I was only doing it to maintain my luxury body.”

  10. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 05.9.2007 | 2:19 pm

    “It was only attempted doping.” Wait, he actually tried to use that one.

    “But I’ve never even heard of Eufemi-what’s his name.” Wait, he actually used that one too.

  11. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 05.9.2007 | 2:23 pm

    “But I was just storing my blood in case I needed a transfusion.” No, Jan’s lawyer already used that one on Jan’s behalf.

    OOOHHHHH, I’ve got a great one: “I HAVE NEVER TESTED POSITIVE.” To really sell this one you have to say it angrily and maybe squeeze a little tear out of the corner of your left eye.

  12. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 05.9.2007 | 2:27 pm

    “I have never cheated anyone out of anything.” Jan again.

    “The blood was for my dog.” –Frank Vandenbrouk.

    “The EPO, HGH, and steroids were for my mother.” — What’s his name whose wife got arrested by the French on the last day of the TDF, while transporting a decent sized pharmacy??? Raimondas Rumsas.

    Okay, I’m getting disheartened now. I’m not going to post any more.

  13. Comment by axel | 05.9.2007 | 2:45 pm

    I was hired by CSC to replace Tyler – I was just trying to follow in his footsteps.

  14. Comment by monkeywebb | 05.9.2007 | 2:53 pm

    Senor Basso would have done just as well had he simply clicked through the EBay link at the top of Fatty’s post. It says right there that they have a “Huge selection, great deals on Excuses items.” I checked it out and sure enough, the Vintage Bowler’s Excuse T-Shirt has a few that would have worked as well as “I planned to, but never got the chance.”

    To wit:
    -”Everybody else cheated”
    -”Got a swollen thumb”
    -”No follow through” (Wait, he did say that.)
    -”No spares”
    -”Too hot”
    -”Warm beer” (Isn’t that one of Landis’ official reasons?)

    Pick your favorite: http://cgi.ebay.com/vintage-BOWLERS-EXCUSE-RINGER-t-shirt-1980S-MEDIUM-M_W0QQitemZ270117198323QQihZ017QQcategoryZ28022QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    Or better yet, click through the eBay and earn Fatty another dime.

  15. Comment by mateo | 05.9.2007 | 3:00 pm

    Jan hasn’t admited to being a vampire yet…so Basso could use that one. Can’t wait for Valverde’s excuse…Sangria recipe?

  16. Comment by Born4Lycra | 05.9.2007 | 3:05 pm

    Hey I’m a visionary. I’m leading the charge. I’m doing this for the benefit of all mankind. Boldly going where only a few (quite a few) other cyclists have gone before. I’m sacrificing myself for science and the greater knowledge. You all owe me. It’s not for me, I’m not cheating, I’m doing this for you, I’m a hero!

  17. Comment by Born4Lycra | 05.9.2007 | 3:17 pm

    Botched. From yesterday it was no joke me and the alpaca, Main North East Road in Adelaide and a little bit of biffo. I must admit as I wrote the message last night I could recollect stories on FC’s site regards riders v Animals. My memory however is a little foggy so Bob you and the deer – what happened?

  18. Comment by Jose | 05.9.2007 | 3:36 pm

    How about this one: “Those bags where to help the spanish blood banks”.

    or: I gave Eufemiano those blood bags to make his delicious Morcilla. I really love it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morcilla

  19. Comment by LMouse | 05.9.2007 | 3:37 pm

    When it came to excuses, my sons were fans of the classics. Their rule of thumb was “The less you say, the better.” Ivan, read and learn from the best.

    1) “I was FRAMED!” Leave it at that.

    2) “HE did it!” Point to nearest brother–I mean teammate.

    3) “I have no idea what’s going on. I’ve been doing yardwork. ” Look weary. Of course, Ivan, you may want to substitute “charity work” for “yardwork.”

    4) “I don’t recall.” Actually, I got this one from Roberto Gonzales. It seems to be working quite well for him.

  20. Comment by Lins - Australia | 05.9.2007 | 4:05 pm

    Basso -”When I was at a-CSC they make me a-speak the Engalish and I learn a-many things about the Engalish ways. I think that a-one-a day I would a-like to try the drink they a-call the Blxxdy Mary. Is a-good, yes?

  21. Comment by Al Maviva | 05.9.2007 | 4:14 pm

    “I just took the cream and the clear from the trainer. I have no idea what this stuff was. I just take what they tell me.”

    “Jose Canseco told me it was a B-12 shot. I walk into the men’s room at the Sea Otter Classic, and there he is shooting Mark McGwire in the ass with this stuff. I thought it was to help them bulk up for the downhill race, so I tried some, felt it might help on the descents. Admittedly, I didn’t expect the man boobs and the rage, and my jaw turning into a boulder.”

    “I never bet on baseball. Er, doped.”

    “It was mosquitoes. Very large, well organized and equipped mosquitoes.”

    “Cycling don’t pay much, and this doctor was hanging out giving cash for plasma. So I gave enough to pay for my new bike. 8 or 10 bags or so. Yeah, it was a long day.”

    “Jens Voigt said doping is bad stuff and he doesn’t do it. I didn’t really feel I understood him. Bjarne really stresses working together as a team, so I thought I needed to dope for a couple years, to really get where Jens is coming from. I only did it for the team, man.”

    “On the advice of counsel, I am going to assert my right to remain silent.”

    “On the advice of counsel, I am going to assert my right to remain silent.”

    “On the advice of counsel, I am going to assert my right to remain silent.”

  22. Comment by Steve | 05.9.2007 | 4:40 pm

    If you ban the use of dope, only terrorists will have dope.

  23. Comment by Jose | 05.9.2007 | 5:11 pm

    Botched — you should write an article about lies in cycling, check this one out about lies in Baseball.


  24. Comment by Byrdbth | 05.9.2007 | 6:29 pm

    I was just waiting for you to write on this…here are my excuses..
    1. “Define doping”
    2. “I will not parse my earlier statement”-even if there was no earlier statement
    3. “I will enjoy needles”

  25. Comment by Jsun | 05.9.2007 | 6:35 pm

    Come on, its only riding bikes, its not like I lied about a real sport. In fact some sports encourage it. What would professional darts be without beer for example.

  26. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.9.2007 | 6:59 pm

    I have no recollection.

  27. Comment by Softie | 05.9.2007 | 7:03 pm

    You guys are leaving the good ones on the table. How about:

    “What you found in Eufemiano’s fridge was my attempt to level the playing field. Every day in the Giro when Simoni spouted off about me, I gave a pint of blood to make sure that I’d be as slow as everyone else, or at least as slow as Gibo. Unfortunately, even after 9 pints, I still won by 9 minutes. So everyone should thank me for keeping the Giro even slightly interesting, rather than saying that I won it by cheating. I might have won by 18 minutes, or an hour! But I’m a nice guy.”

  28. Comment by John | 05.9.2007 | 8:44 pm

    Quadratic formula? “Opposite of b plus minus the square root of b-squared plus four a c whole thing over two a.” It can even be sung.

  29. Comment by XCTiger | 05.9.2007 | 9:31 pm

    I’m not here to talk about the past.

  30. Comment by Tim D | 05.10.2007 | 12:16 am

    “I have a naturally high level of EPO (HGH, Testosterone). I have a doctor’s note to prove it too!”

  31. Comment by Lurch | 05.10.2007 | 2:48 am

    “I never meant to dope. It’s really an addiction. I am sorry for disappointing my fans, but it’s really a mental health issue, so I’m checking myself into a clinic. I think 2 weeks of therapy will cure me of all my ills and I’ll be happy to be back racing (and earning my pay) following my return. Hey, it’s an illness, it’s not really my fault! You can’t hold it against me!!!”
    I. Basso

  32. Comment by bikemike | 05.10.2007 | 3:17 am

    I dope, therefore, I am.

  33. Comment by Pazhi | 05.10.2007 | 3:22 am

    “Yes, I know, it sounds a little bit childy, but I wanted to beat Simoni with his cookies from columbian auntie”

  34. Comment by Dave Nice | 05.10.2007 | 4:01 am

    Allergic to alcohol and caffeine?

    I was doing it for the staving kids in Africa?

    witch pill is the epo and witch one’s the muti vitamin?

    Good stuff Fatty!

  35. Comment by Pista Largo | 05.10.2007 | 5:00 am

    My publicist told me it was OK.

  36. Comment by MAJ Mike | 05.10.2007 | 5:07 am

    “I did NOT, have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewin…wait-hang on…{shuffles cards} I mean, it depends on what the definition of ‘is’- no! Damn. Hang on a minute. {shuffles cards} Ah, here it is! *Ahem* If the blood don’t fit, you must acquit!”

  37. Comment by mocougfan | 05.10.2007 | 5:46 am

    I was just trying to feed my family.

  38. Comment by susie b | 05.10.2007 | 6:44 am

    My wife & I are trying to have another child, but I’ve, uh, had trouble RISING to the occasion lately, so some friends at work told me about this “WOMAN’s” Doctor in Spain. Well, the 1st thing he says I have to do is give blood so we can see “what the problem is”. I gave in Aug 2005, couple times in the Fall & once in January I think. So this is all just a misunderstanding. I’m ITALIAN, I want a big family! Is that a crime?!

  39. Comment by TimK | 05.10.2007 | 9:57 am

    “I did it for the nookie!”

  40. Comment by hobgoblin | 05.10.2007 | 12:00 pm

    It was that guy who made the fake Jan Ullrich MySpace page–he hates me and is trying to ruin me!

  41. Pingback by Run, Run, Run, Run, Run, Cycle, Cycle Too » links for 2007-05-11 | 05.11.2007 | 12:25 am

    [...] Excuses Ivan Basso Should Have Used Basso. Freakin’ Basso and his “Hey, I only planned on doping, I never actually did it”. Fatty hits this one out of the park. (tags: bike cycling doping UCI) [...]

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    Stillman: “Shut up.”
    Ox: “Ok sir.”
    90% on the Basso scale.

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