Hosking fears for women cyclists over Armstrong fallout
Canberra?s Chloe Hosking fears a sponsorship shortfall. Photo: Colleen Petch
Canberra rider Chloe Hosking fears cycling could be unfairly punished if the sport is kicked out of the Olympic Games as part of the fallout from the Lance Armstrong drug scandal.
Armstrong is set to admit on Friday to using performance enhancing drugs during his career in the first interview since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
And if the fallen champion implicates the International Cycling Union (UCI) in covering up his widespread doping, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound says cycling could be dumped from the Olympic program.
Hosking, 22, made her Olympic debut in London in the road race last year and is aiming for selection for Rio in 2016. But after watching other sports deal with Olympic drug scandals - most notably athletics and weightlifting - Hosking said it would be cruel to make cycling suffer for Armstrong's past.
''I heard they were going to axe cycling, but I think it's unlikely,'' she said, pointing towards the 100 metres on the athletics program.
''There could be six guys on the start line [taking performance-enhancing drugs].
''There's a history of drugs but it's still there.
''For female cyclists, sponsorship increases in the two years leading into an Olympics and then as soon as it's over, it disappears.
''It would be a devastating decision if that's what they did and not reflective of the new generation.''
Hosking will leave Canberra on Thursday to start her international racing season. She races around Europe for the Hitec Products team .
Pound's revelation about cycling's potential Olympics ban came as the world waits to hear Armstrong's response to allegations over performance-enhancing drugs.
Pound said the IOC might be left with no choice other than to take drastic action if Armstrong were able to prove the UCI had acted improperly.
''We could say, 'Look, you've clearly got a problem; why don't we give you four years, eight years to sort it out,'' Pound said.
''And when you think you're ready to come on back we'll see whether it would be a good idea to put you back on the program.''
A former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Pound said it was clear the IOC needed to take matters into its own hands in the wake of the Armstrong doping scandal. ''The only way it [cycling] is going to clean up is if all these people say, 'Hey, we're no longer in the Olympics and that's where we want to be so let's earn our way back into it,'" Pound said.
''The IOC would have to deal with it - the [UCI] is not known for its strong actions to anti-doping.
''It was the same in weightlifting a few years ago.
All of a sudden when you get right up against it things go fuzzy and they say, 'Well, we can't punish innocent athletes in these sports by dropping the sport from the program'.''
Pound helped launch the anti-doping agency and headed up the IOC ethics committee that cleaned up the organisation following the Salt Lake City Olympic corruption scandal.
But the Canadian lawyer said any possible changes to cycling's status were unlikely to happen until after the next IOC presidential election in August.
The agency, founded after the Festina doping affair in the 1998 Tour de France, has long been critical of the UCI's handling of doping in the sport, with Pound routinely slamming cycling bosses.
Despite agreeing that Armstrong cheated his way to the top, the US Anti-Doping Agency and the UCI have continued to trade thinly veiled insults.
Oprah Winfrey and Lance Armstrong. TV Time: From 1-2.30pm on Foxtel's Discovery Channel (Ch 608).