Gloucestershire cyclists react to Lance Armstrong doping scandal
THE USA Anti Doping Agency investigation into seven times Tour De France champion Lance Armstrong has rocked the cycling world.
Here, Alistair Hardy, a keen cyclist from Cheltenham and Gerry McGarr from Gloucester City Cycling Club give their reaction to the news:
"Cycling sport is back in the headlines today thanks to the USA Anti Doping Agency investigation into Lance Armstrong.
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"After all the wonderful cycling news in recent months courtesy of Wiggo (Bradle Wiggins) et Le Tour, Sir Chris Hoy and all our "Olympic cyclists and their haul of medals, the USA drags us back into the murky past.
"Many cyclists and those interested in this sport find it hard to hear yet more findings and confessionals going back.
"Most cyclists are focused on going forwards not backwards and need to have a positive attitude in order to stay at the front, improve performance, conquer that climb or sprint for the line.
"I would rather be discussing how next racing season is going to shape up with Wiggo, Froome and the Sky train competing against the Spanish combo of Contador, Rodrigues and Valverde.
"Can the Spanish Vuelta get any better than the race witnessed in 2012.
"Racing this season has been fantastic and especially for British riders. We even won the Tour of Britain. And more and more people in the UK are on bikes enjoying their cycling.
"So lets move on please. I don’t want cycling to be in the spotlight thanks to the USA Anti Doping Agency. My focus is on which of our cyclists will win Sports Personality of the Year 2012?"
"An icon in cycling, the United States and the cancer community what a great shame for Lance Armstrong - the man who was feted the world over not just by cyclists but presidents, world leaders and even the Pope.
"I have a friend in Stroud who is also a cancer survivor and a keen cyclist. He worships the ground Lance cycles on and has twice travelled to Austin in Texas to ride 'Ride for the Roses' - a charity ride that Lance organises to raise money for cancer.
"I feel very sorry for my friend - he must feel very let down.
"He proudly has a photo of himself riding alongside Lance.
"Is it a nail in the coffin of the sport of professional cycling? No I don’t think so – no matter how painful or how high a profile the rider is – drug taking has to be detected and the riders punished.
"The evidence from former teammates appears to have uncovered the truth that he hid for so many years.
"Drug taking has always been rife on the continent and many British riders have not turned professional because of it.
"I think through drug testing the sport has dramatically changed and that is why British riders are now competing with success on the continent.
"Cyclists like Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish would never have been dreamt about years ago.
"I think that is down to the change in culture in the pro peloton – sponsors will not tolerate it now and want a clean sport. "Cycling has always led the way in drug testing. Drugs are not unique to cycling – all professional sport has its problems even rugby!
"Team SKY have a strong policy on keeping clean and I strongly hope that it is being kept to and we will not read anything to the contrary in years to come."