By Antonio J. Salmeron
Now a national television commentator, French cycling legend Laurent Jalabert said recently in an interview in the Spanish sport daily Sport that he has seen a ton of changes in cycling since he left the competitive side of the sport six years ago resulting in what he calls a "complete loss of confidence."
Jalabert says that he has seen a good number of stars swept up in doping scandals, the peloton has reduced in number of teams; and sponsors, doping controls increased, a controversial new 'biological passport' introduced. Unfortunately, he said in the interview. Some media have not been aware of the damage they have done therefore it was necessary to introduce new rules. "Over the past ten years cycling has been losing credibility with the media, sponsors and the public."
The repercussions of that turmoil? "Now it is difficult to know who is a champion of truth," Jalabert said. "But I have great confidence in the future." He said that the decisions that have been made for the benefit of the sport are appropriate and will return confidence to the sport.
"Despite the fame of cycling, this sport is striving hard to clean house, while other sports can not say the same thing. Riders who have violated the regulations must understand that they are required to change their behavior. Those who are respecting the ethical code don't have the slightest problem in accepting the new conditions," Jalabert added.
"I can not imagine or accept that cycling is going to die," Jalabert said. "The important thing for cycling is the future, to encourage people who want to continue practicing cycling and someday will compete in the Tour, the Vuelta or the Giro."