Linus Gerdemann has stressed the importance of professional cycling winning back the trust of cycling fans. The German, who has often been outspoken on doping within cycling, last year volunteered to go under 24 hours surveillance during the Tour de France in a bid to prove he was riding clean.
“I think it’s important for cycling to have a good image and I think most of the riders are clean, but we have to prove and show that cycling is clean,” Gerdemann told Cyclingnews at a recent Leopard Trek training camp.
“We have so many controls and so many people are still sceptical about the sport it’s important for cycling that we try and win back trust so people love to watch the Tour.”
German cycling has gone through a dark period in recent years with a number of teams and races disappearing from the scene and 2011 marking the first time since the early 1990s that the country has been without a top division team.
While the majority of the problem can be placed at the feet of the list of doping stories, Gerdemann also believes that the scepticism of the nation's press has at times gone too far.
“The German journalists were always so sceptical. I can understand being a bit sceptical but in Germany it’s just negative reports for years, so my surveillance idea was a step to just say, stop criticising us. There wasn’t really much feedback to my suggestion and that showed me that they just like to complain about things but they don’t want to change things. There was no reaction and that’s a bit sad.
“You cant say it’s just the German media, you can’t just lay the blame on one thing. The German media are focussed on doping more than the sport and I mean for example Haussler was second in San Remo in 2009 and Andre Greipel won so many races and there weren’t any big stories in the German media. Yet if someone from a third division team in Spain was positive there was a big article in the German papers. The balance wasn’t there any more. You can be critical but if you just focus on that and ignore the racing it’s such a shame.
“There are so many talents out there with huge potential that I’m quite sure that most riders, nearly everyone is clean.”