Cycling ACT President Adrian Marshall, Canberra Cycling Club President Jason Parkes, Communications Manager of Pedal Power Matt Larkin, Vikings Cycling Club's Rob Fisher and Executive Officer of Pedal Power John Armstrong. Photo: Graham Tidy
Lance Armstrong's doping controversy may be a body blow to the sport, but Canberra's leading cycling organisations insist the tough stance is crucial as the sport looks to rid itself of its drugs stigma.
The seven-time Tour de France winner was branded a ''serial cheat'' by the United States Anti-Doping Agency yesterday in a report outlining his alleged systematic doping.
While saddened by the accusations made against Armstrong, Pedal Power ACT executive officer John Armstrong said it was a necessary move to help the sport rebuild its reputation.
''It's obviously disappointing but in the end it's a really good move. We are very keen to see drugs out of the sport of cycling,'' he said.
''I'm certainly not the judge of where he has or hasn't cheated, but if it leads to ousting a cheat, then it's not a bad thing. It's really hard to gauge where the sport will go, but the reality is the strength of movement that has occurred in recent times has been very strong in trying to eradicate drugs in the sport.''
Cycling ACT president Adrian Marshall said it sent a clear message how seriously cycling was taking its quest to expose cheats, regardless of their stature. ''It shows the sport isn't just tackling the easy fish, but the big fish as well,'' he said.
''It's becoming more and more difficult for cheats to continue. The events in question were from a number of years ago and we have moved forward.''
Rob Fisher, the president of the Vikings Cycling Club, said the report on Armstrong was necessary to help reassure young cyclists the sport was cleaning up its act.
''For the guys making the leap to that world level, they need to know they can compete on a level playing field where they're not under pressure to dope,'' he said.
''Obviously a lot of them idolised the man and got into the sport because of what he did, but ultimately if he cheated it needs to be made public and treated accordingly.
''But I don't think it's a huge impediment to people coming into sport now, who will continue to ride Lance or no Lance.''
Pedal Power ACT spokesman Matt Larkin said cycling would continue to enjoy increased participation rates in spite of the Armstrong saga.
''When someone's accused of that sort of thing we need to take it seriously and get that behaviour away from the sport,'' he said.
''But for most people the joy of getting on the bike … won't be affected by the events of today.''