Anti-Doping Drive On Track, Says Cycling Legend

Sean Kelly, legendary Irish cyclist, has remarked it is now impossible to cheat in cycling and this is all due to the fallout from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

Kelly, speaking ahead of Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge, said such a deceit would never happen again because of the reforms implemented by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the sport’s governing body. The 57-year-old, who won 193 professional races including seven consecutive editions of the Paris-Nice event in a career that spanned from 1977 to 1994, said products were out there before controls were able to detect them but now he thinks it’s the reverse, with biological passports, you can see if there are any abnormalities. He added it’s impossible to cheat now and he is very confident that those days are over.

Lance Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after the United States Anti-Doping Agency accused the cyclist of using banned drugs. The cyclist admitted in January this year of using performance enhancing drugs throughout his career.

Britain’s Chris Froome will bid next year to become the first cyclist to win back-to-back Le Tours since Miguel Indurain won five in a row in the early 1990s. Kelly believes the focus is now to prove dominance that can be attained without drugs. He remarked we cannot go back to a situation like we had in the past because that would be the death of the sport and now things are looking good, everybody is more confident and sponsors are coming back in and we have to keep on this road.

Kelly went on to add that innocent people have been branded as cheats, and it’s not right and that’s where he thinks the UCI really has to look at clarifying the difference between substances and categorizing them. Kelly, a veteran of 193 race wins, twice tested positive for banned substances during his career but claimed both instances were due to “minor and stupid” accidental intakes. He remarked you can’t just point the finger at Armstrong as there was an era of 15 to 20 years where doping grew and a lot of big names were taken out.

Kelly said the top five cyclists in his time were on good money, but now you can have an eight-year career, win five races and be made for life. He also remarked more pressure comes from greater salaries and sponsors wanted to get more exposure and teams all wanted a slice of the cake because they had to survive but that doesn’t mean you have to go to drugs. Kelly added you can have a good sport without it and riders just go a little bit slower, the race isn’t as fast and aggressive, but the racing is still as good and we’ve seen that over the past couple of years. He also said many of the guys want to take it forward now and make it a clean sport and it was a problem at its height and many just wanted to get out of that scene and it went on for far too long.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Anti-Doping Drive On Track, Says Cycling Legend