Having heard the much publicised interview with former cyclist Lance Armstrong, please see our comments below.
It was only a matter of time before Lance Armstrong came under pressure to begin to admit to years of doping, corruption and lies he had inflicted on the sport of cycling. It is a desperate time for the sport and another blow inflicted on an already broken image. The ramifications of Armstrong’s confession will only come to light as time passes but with several legal cases in the pipeline they will more than likely hit Armstrong hard both financially and personally.
Our fear as an organisation is that following a full blown confession, Lance Armstrong will be placed on a partial pedestal. This could send a very negative message to riders and young aspiring athletes that ‘it’s ok to dope’. The failures of many anti-doping organisations to implement stringent penalties on cheating athletes is worrying. Athlete’s who opt to flout the rules must be punished with stronger sanctions and heavier financial penalties, along with those who encourage and administer illegal products within team structures. Let us not forget that Armstrong not only took illegal drugs but also encouraged, pressured and administered them to his team mates.
A positive that could inevitably appear from the Armstrong interview is a possible overhaul of the UCI. If Armstrong were ever to testify against the UCI that his positive tests were covered up then this will inevitably see an end to McQuaid and Verbruggen’s grip on power and provide way for a much needed fresh face into the realm.
Bike Pure propose a complete overhaul of the UCI and the standing down of Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen, with the formation of a world governing body that all cyclists globally can be proud of. The failures of the current management of the UCI are seen by us as part of the failings of the sport and part of the reason for the failure to apprehend Lance Armstrong’s prolific and extended use of performance enhancing drugs in the most intricate fraud in the history of sport.
We are consistently reminded of the ‘win at all costs’ culture enveloping sport, whether that be a footballer taking a dive, an athlete taking a bribe or injecting illegal products. We must ensure the consequences of doping outweigh the benefits in order to see change in the psyche of athletes who decide to take the doping route. We are seeing an alarming shift towards accepting those who have broken the rules, not only in sport but across society. It’s vitally important rules are adhered to and strengthened for the sake of the future of all sports.
Bike Pure are proposing 4 year bands and life time bans for re-offenders and the banning of riders implicated in doping from working in team structures. Clean, honest athletes MUST be protected.
Unfortunately we are entering an era where the word of an athlete can no longer always be believable. Armstrong vehemently denied he used illegal drugs his entire career when in fact he defrauded many people. We will hopefully see the emergence of new methods of detection, either by the analysis of riders power outputs and speeds, more advanced drug detection, retrospective testing or more close monitoring of athletes in major events. Athletes who now want to win the major cycling events such as the Tour de France should be thinking of new ways in which they can make the public believe in them, ensuring that their performances are 100% clean. They shouldn’t have too but Lance Armstrong’s career of deceit could well force them too.