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Joaquim Rodriguez cuts himself some slack in the tug-of-war.
2012's top-ranked rider wants to "help make this sport better"
The world's number one cyclist for the 2012 season, Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) has hit out after his achievements have been largely overshadowed by the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong and his associates.
Rodríguez won La Flèche Wallonne and Il Lombardia, and took podiums at the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España to finish 91 points ahead of his nearest challenger, Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky) in the UCI WorldTour rankings. It was the second time in three years that the Spaniard has taken the honour.
The 33-year-old says that his results can be trusted.
"I know the road I've travelled," he told nieuwsblad.be "I do not think I ever had a problem with doping nor will I have. I want to help make this sport better."
For this reason, the constant talk in recent months regarding Armstrong has made him "crazy" and he questions why the full extent of his misdeeds did not come out when the American was first linked to Dr. Michele Ferrari.
"This sport has a past," Rodríguez admitted. "That is also the reason why there are now so many anti-doping rules... We, the riders of today, are the real losers. We lose sponsors, money, credibility and love of the people. Let us also look ahead. "
Rodríguez, currently in the Caribbean for the Amstel Curaçao Race, believes that the way forward for the sport is life bans.
"Throw doping sinners out for life," he said. "Doctors, riders, everyone involved."