Cycling is "probably one of cleanest sports" ... Orica-GreenEDGE owner Gerry Ryan.

Cycling is "probably one of cleanest sports" ... Orica-GreenEDGE owner Gerry Ryan. Photo: AFP

IN AN impassioned defence of cycling - still grappling with the crisis of Lance Armstrong's lifetime ban - the owner of Australia's Orica-GreenEDGE team, Gerry Ryan, says the sport does more than most to eradicate doping.

Announcing his decision to extend a multimillion-dollar sponsorship of Cycling Australia for a further four years, Ryan said his professional road team spent €200,000 ($250,000) on anti-doping programs in its debut season on the World Tour circuit this year.

The former AFL and NRL club board member, and owner of 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain, said Australia's domestic football codes had their own drug problems but believed they had not been scrutinised as heavily as cycling.

''I think if you look at the past six years the sport and the programs they have implemented, with the [biological] passport system, is probably one of the cleanest sports, or most tested sports, in the world,'' Ryan said.

''We spend €200,000 on testing at Orica-GreenEDGE. I'd like someone out here to tell me … what other sport tests as much as what cycling does, and has programs in place? What happens in the AFL? Huge drug problems. NRL? But that never gets printed. Blood doping. In NRL that's accepted, or was accepted. In terms of EPO in AFL football teams, cocaine, but that doesn't get printed. Out of every crisis comes opportunity. Here's the opportunity for this sport to get out and tell the world that we are heading towards a clean system.''

AFL media manager Patrick Keane said the AFL had been judged by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to have ''gold standard'' drug-testing protocols, and would not comment on unsubstantiated claims about drug use in the AFL.