Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The post Armstrong era - I'm back - lets take our sport back!

Cycling has now entered the post-Armstrong era, sure he'll be around for a while finding non-sanctioned events to take part in and having legal arguments to keep hold of the money that organisations rightly want back. But in terms of real cycling we are now post-Armstrong (and post-lots of others too!).

I've not blogged much lately, other pressures of life and to an extent not being sure quite how to react to what has been happening to my favourite sport. We've talked about it, worried about it, sometimes been the butt of jokes about it and sometimes argued about it.

We've all known about drugs for a long time and even at an amateur level most people who raced for any length of time will know of people who were at least suspected of using banned substances on occasion.

Personally I know what steroids can do in terms of training and strength building - I stopped cycle racing because I needed steroid treatment for an eye problem - I'd almost certainly never have been tested but I wouldn't have felt comfortable competing unfairly.Winning feels brilliant; but only because of the sense of acheivement, having done your best and beaten other, often stronger, riders. Cheating to win would never feel the same.

On a high dose of steroids for several months I found that my power, especially climbing, was much greater than normal (generally climbing seated in a gear two cogs higher than I would normally use) and I stopped doing any kind of training because I knew something of the damage I could do to my body had I carried on.

Some people will take the chance with their health, will want to win at whatever cost and will continue to find ways to cheat. But most cyclists are not like that. Most cyclists love the sport and would love to see fair competition and winners who are real heroes.

The challenge post-Armstrong is how to take back our sport, let the world know that most cyclists just love cycling and all the freedom, pleasure and benefits it brings.

At the top level Team Sky seem to have the right approach.

Let's take back our sport from the grass-roots upwards!

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