Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong was not only one of the biggest names in the history of cycling but he was one of the greatest sportsmen of all time.

His achievements after battling cancer were staggering and he was a name that transcended his sport and helped give cycling a greater profile.

Now that reputation is totally in tatters as Armstrong FINALLY admitted that everything he had achieved was built on a lie.

Doping rumours have surrounded Armstrong for a huge chunk of his career - rumours he always strenuously denied - but on Oprah he revealed that his Tour De France wins were all fuelled by performance enhancing drugs.

The web of lies and deceit that he has spun over the years is so staggering that you have to wonder just how he got away with it for so long?

But the even bigger question is can the sport of cycling ever fully recover from this scandal?

The 2012 Olympics Games showed just how exciting and thrilling a sport cycling can be as the Velodrome in Olympic Park was treated to some fantastic performances.

And it is Great Britain that really has been leading the charge with our track and road teams having a tremendous year.

But due to the actions of one man all that success and fabulous competition and achievement has been tossed aside and the sport is facing some of its darkest days.

What you have to remember is Lance Armstrong is just one man and we really can’t tar everyone with the same brush.

Inevitably that is what will happen and others in this sport will - through no fault of their own - be eyed with suspicion.

However there is some great talent in this sport including Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome and it is up to these individuals and others to show that great things can be achieved without resorting to cheating - something that the trio mentioned have already proved over the last couple of years.

The greater slap in the face for the sport came in the second half of Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey when he said that he would like to return to competitive cycling - is he under some kind of illusion that the sport would want him back?

Lance Armstrong must NEVER be allowed to competitively ride again. He treated that privilege with such disrespect that that honour should never again be his.

For most cyclists competing in the Tour de France, Olympics or representing their country is a source of great pride and should be given to those who truly deserve it - I think it’s fair to say that that ship has well and truly sailed for Armstrong.

It is time to make a real stand against drugs in sport and make Armstrong a real example… if you are caught cheating in any sport you should be banned for life.

Does cheating go on in sport because the repercussions of getting caught are not that great? In most cases if you are caught doping you serve a set ban before being allowed to return - where is the deterrent in that?

I have always believed that if you are caught cheating that should be it, career over. The Armstrong case has proved that we need to get tough with cheats to maintain the honour and integrity of the sports that we all love.
One of the things that was so interesting about his interview with Oprah Winfrey was he failed to name who was involved in this scandal with him or how it was done.

Armstrong clearly didn’t pull this off alone so was he the mastermind? Or is he now just a scapegoat for all of those behind the scenes? We may not have all the facts and all of the names of those involved yet but you have to think that it will all come out in the end.

The only positive to come out of this whole sorry mess is that cycling and sport in general can have an open and frank discussion about doping policy.

In the past this has been a tricky and, at times, controversial subject but now it seems that everyone is having their say on just want needs to be done to root out cheats in sport.

What is so sad about this is and doping stories that have gone before it is it leaves spectators questioning the validity of performances that they see. Why should athletes who have trained hard and been dedicated to the rules and regulations of their sport be eyed suspiciously?

Lance Armstrong and those like him are a real stain on sport. They give sport and those that compete in it a bad name and it is time that a real push was made to get rid of them once and for all!!!

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