Cycling post-Armstrong

Cycling post-Armstrong

The world let out a sigh in January when Lance Armstrong confessed to doping. An inspiration to many - Tour de France winner 7 times over, charity hero - it emerged that Armstrong had been using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career, a fact that he had fervently denied for many years, despite dubious test results and the eyewitness testimonies of teammates who had watched him inject.

I can begin to understand that after his fight against cancer, the pressure for Armstrong to play the hero - at any cost - must have been overwhelming. But the two-part tear-stained Oprah interview gave quite enough airtime to this sorry situation. No more X factor-style productions; no more finger-pointing. It's time to move on.

This wasn't 'a sad day for sport' - just a sad day for Lance Armstrong. The world of sport, and particularly cycling, is in an exciting place right now. Look at Britain alone: our Olympians and Paralympians scooped up medal after medal on the track last summer.

As if the Queen suspected we needed a new biking hero, he-of-the-mighty-sideburns, Bradley Wiggins, received a well-deserved knighthood at the 2013 New Year Honours. Wiggo scooped Gold in the 2012 Olympic road time trial, where there were two Brits on the podium thanks to Chris Froome's Bronze achievement.

Britain also picked up Golds in the both the men's and women's team pursuit. Members of the World Record breaking teams, Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh (men's) and Danielle King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell (women's), each received MBEs for services to cycling.

Britain also won Gold in the men's team sprint, individual pursuit and individual time trial, women's keirin and omnium.

British Paralympic cyclists brought in 8 Gold medals to finish top of the cycling medal table. Memorable moments include Sarah Storey winning the four Golds that brought her medal total up to 22, the highest of any British Paralympic athlete. And who can forget Karen Darke and Rachel Morris crossing the line together hand in hand at the H1-3 road race?

Since our Summer of Sport - or should that be our Summer of Cycling? - us Brits have rediscovered our love of the bike. More and more of us are discovering the Great British countryside on cycling holidays, and celebrities from Keira Knightley to Agyness Deyn have donned two wheels like the latest fashion accessory.

In January, the powers-that-be threatened to pull the plug on all Olympic Cycling events if senior officials were found to have been involved in a doping conspiracy.

Why not get rid of the conspirators and let our legit cyclists continue to achieve and inspire? With so much talent on Team GB, Rio 2016 could our cyclists' best Games ever.

If we let a small number of cheats ruin the legacy of cycling, now that would be a sad day for sport.


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