Road cycling has come under intense scrutiny through public and social media recently. I refrain from seeing it as road cycling’s ‘darkest hour’ but a time to gain a thorough introspective into it. Not many sports have been through such a global crisis like this that provides an opportunity to truly improve its morality and market share of the sporting world. But, and it’s a big but, sacrifice must be made not acceptance and now.
I know Lance’s fall from grace hurt so many cycling fans, but the writing was on the wall. Current Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins put it best by liking him to Father Christmas: “As you grow up and time passes you become to believe in him less and less.” So to with a man’s performances achieved while the majority of his competitors and team mates were linked to infamous ‘drug doctors’ or convicted for doping.
This introspective period has illuminated a previously suppressed opinion that dopers past and present should be banned; and a call for the heads of cycling, namely president of the U.C.I. (International Cycling Union) Pat McQuaid to resign. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that during the darkest years of doping the U.C.I. stood by accepting and allowing it to happen. To rub salt in the wound (until an external investigation commission established only last Friday to examine various allegations made about U.C.I. relating to the Armstrong affair), only the bare minimum – ratifying USADAs Armstrong ban – had been achieved.
What looks increasingly more essential to cycling’s future appears is a ‘truth and reconciliation’ process which would weed out not only past dopers but also those responsible in cycling organisations that have allowed doping to occur (doctors, team managers and coaches). Those guilty might not necessarily need to leave the sport but come to justice. Only this way will Armstrong’s fall from grace and cycling’s ‘introspective hour’ be fair and worthwhile.