Hoy looks to the future

  • Last Updated: October 11 2012, 16:54 BST

Sir Chris Hoy says the damning report labelling Lance Armstrong as "a serial drugs cheat" is depressing for cycling - but he hopes the sport can now move on from the scandal.

Hoy: Hopes cycling can move on from the revelations

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Hoy admitted to being shocked at the contents of the report by the US Anti-Doping Administration (USADA) which claimed Armstrong enforced a drugs culture at the US Postal team.

Armstrong, who recovered from cancer to dominate professional cycling, has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles - although his lawyers have described the USADA report as "a farce".

Hoy told BBC Radio Five: "It's so depressing because of the guy's books he wrote that were inspirational to people with cancer, and his cancer charity on one side doing so many positive things. Then you find out this.

"I think it's the scale of it that's really shocked people as well as who it is. The number of people involved, it's on a huge scale.

"But, we have to move on, this did happen many years ago and there are so many things that are happening now that are far happier and far more pleasant to talk about and British cycling hopefully can move on."

Armstrong has repeatedly denied accusations of doping. But in August the 41-year-old announced he would not fight the doping charges filed against him by USADA, saying in a statement he was "finished with this nonsense" and insisting he was innocent.

However, Hoy admitted he had harboured suspicions about the Texan at the time of his Tour de France victories but had tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.

"You have to take those performances at face value," he added. "Until they're proven guilty I think you have to assume that they're clean.

"In that era, there were a lot of people testing positive. The guys who were coming second and third behind Lance were testing positive so there was an element of suspicion surrounding him, but I always try and give people the benefit of the doubt."

Hoy said there had been determined efforts to clean up the sport.

He added: "I think everybody's surprised by it and as a cyclist and a cycling fan, it's very sad.

"Particularly when you look at the hard work that's been done, particularly in British cycling, and with the Sky team over the years to run a team that's very transparent about how it does its operations and has a zero tolerance to anything involving performance-enhancing drugs.

"At least cycling is doing something to try to eradicate it no matter how big the name is...but it is very sad.

"It's so hard on these athletes, myself included, who work very hard. We do it clean, we put in years and years of effort and we make sure we have the correct diet and we rest properly.

"We don't go out drinking. You sacrifice a lot and then you win a gold medal and people, or a very small percentage hopefully, but there will be a percentage thinking 'well, I wonder if there was drugs involved in that performance'.

"So it's frustrating, and it's sad, but at least we're actually naming and shaming people, and it doesn't matter how big the names are."

The Lance Armstrong Foundation cancer charity, meanwhile, expressed doubts about the USADA report.

Doug Ulman, the foundation's president and chief executive, said in a statement: "Our long-standing concerns about the impartiality and fairness of USADA's proceedings are compounded today.

"As a federal judge pointed out, USADA appears motivated more by publicity rather than fulfilling its mission."

Included among the 11 cyclists who gave evidence against Armstrong was Michael Barry, who rode for Team Sky from 2010 until his retirement this year.

The 36-year-old from Toronto, who competed alongside Armstrong for the US Postal team from 2002 to 2006, has admitted to doping during this period.

Team Sky have long trumpeted their strong anti-drugs stance, which includes a refusal to employ any rider with a history of doping - and today they stressed they were unaware of Barry's past.

"We have had no doubts about Michael being clean during his time at Team Sky," a spokesman said.

"We are a clean team and we have shown that you can win clean.

"Michael has retired after 14 years as a professional cyclist.

"His final race was last month and he is no longer with Team Sky.

"Though we are saddened by the revelations about Michael's early career, he is doing the right thing by admitting to his past and helping the sport to a clean future."


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