Tour Champions Wiggins, Evans & Cavendish Have Had Enough of the Armstrong Story
The ongoing melodrama surrounding Lance Armstrong is starting to annoy the other riders in the current elite pack.
The Armstrong doping scandal has dominated news services since the International Cycling Union decided to uphold USADA's sanctions and take the unprecedented step of wiping Armstrong's entire career from the record books.
In the lead-up to the launch of the 2013 Tour de France, several leading riders have spoken out about the crisis their sport is facing and, unsurprisingly, they’re not that impressed.
Former Tour green jersey winner, Mark Cavendish, is one rider who has had enough.
He told Sportal.com.au:
Cycling has moved on, it's just that people keep bringing up the past but it is not happening now. It's not fair to tarnish cycling now with what happened in the past because it has moved on.
We have to start again but we started again a few years ago. Now in 2012 we are having to start again for something which happened before the last time we started again. It's just frustrating that I have to sit here again and again saying that.
His recent move to quit Team Sky to join Omega Pharma-Quickstep—after not being supported to defend his green jersey at the 2012 Tour—was overshadowed by the Armstrong saga as the opportunity to move arose when former Armstrong teammate, Levi Leipheimer, was sacked after his admission of doping
Cavendish was not alone. Former teammate and winner of last year’s Tour, Bradley Wiggins, spoke out at the launch of the 2013 Tour, according to Sportinglife.com.
It is a shame that cycling is being dragged through this again really, not a shame that he has been caught - when you get older you start to realise Father Christmas doesn't exist and it is the same with Lance. But it is a shame that us riders here now, we are the one picking the pieces up and having to convince people.
2010 Tour winner Cadel Evans earlier called for fans to keep the faith in his online diary;
For those who are disappointed with the situation right now: do not despair, do not abandon us now we are in our best years, preparing things for our most important moment yet - the future...
But, having had his say, he has refused to be drawn further on the events of the week, ignoring questions about the Armstrong decision.
Cavendish had the last word on the matter. He has declared the sport clean and argued that cycling is unfairly targeted, telling The Independent;
If you put the effort into catching them and you have a structure that does things properly, you're going to catch a cheat.
It doesn't happen in other sports not because they are clean but because it's not got the structure cycling has. In my eyes, cycling is the cleanest sport.
He may have a point, but don’t expect the scrutiny to die down just yet.
Team Sky has announced that they are investigating every member of the team for past involvement in doping. Rider Chris Froome has told BBC Sport that although he is clean, "we have staff and riders who rode in that time [the Lance Armstrong era]."
Clearly, he expects people to go.
And with Alberto Contador picking up his career again after his doping ban and Frank Schleck's Xipamide positive at last year's Tour yet to be addressed, the scourge of doping hasn't fully been put to bed. Interestingly, both men claim to have been poisoned.
Don't expect stories like these to go away anytime soon.
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