Anti-doping campaigners applaud the efforts of USADA
Anti-doping campaigners Bike Pure say that the evidence exposed in USADA's case against Lance Armstrong and his associates should hopefully lead to the next generation of riders never again being "faced with some of the decisions that many riders faced during the Armstrong era."
Co-founder Andy Layhe told Cyclingnews that claims that USADA's investigation had been a ‘witch hunt' are incorrect and Armstrong's attitude "speaks volumes as to the depth of cheating, lies and corruption that was being implemented during his reign at the Tour de France."
"It's important that USADA and Travis Tygart are applauded for their resilience and pursuit of the truth in compiling this report, anti-doping agencies are the backbone of ethical sport, helping to protect the honest clean athletes who deserve to embark on careers free of doping and we must support them," Layhe said.
Bike Pure came to life following the controversy surrounding the 2007 Tour de France and the actions of Alexandre Vinokourov and Michael Rasmussen.
There has been discussion both in and out of the cycling community as to what good such an investigation does for the sport when the alleged wrong-doings are now so long ago. However Bike Pure believes that in order to move forward, cycling must make peace with the past.
"It looks considerably cleaner than several years ago with climbing speeds decreasing, the signs are promising," said Layhe.
"Increased testing, coupled with out-of-competition testing is working. We aren't stating it's 100 percent clean but the signs are more encouraging now than they have been for a number of years. Compare cycling to mainstream sports such as tennis and football and it's clear to see the sport is doing more testing. To a degree cycling has become a scapegoat for other sports who have yet to face up to the reality of doping. The more riders you test, the more you are going to catch - it's simple maths."
As for who should be providing the testing programs and implementing any sanctions, Bike Pure argues that doping cases involving current athletes should be focused away from the national federation and anti-doping agency of the athlete, an independent testing and sanctioning group would be more impartial and provide a more balanced approach to tackling doping in sport.
"The primary question remains as to why such a sophisticated level of doping and cheating was sustained at the top end of the sport," said Layhe. "The UCI will have many questions to face regarding possible corruption and questions will be asked as to why Armstrong was seemingly being protected. The constant denials by the UCI are as damaging to the sport as doping itself and until they face up to the facts we won't see substantial change."
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