Ever since Lance Armstrong admitted that he had been doping for the majority of his cycling career there has been a lot of backlash and criticism of professional cycling as a whole. Many riders back up Armstrong’s statements that everyone in past was doping, and a that if you wanted to be any good that is what you had to do. In 2005 it was discovered that if the Tour de France were to award a winner that was clean it would have had to go to the 23rd place finisher.
Since its inception, the Tour de France has be plagued by doping, first starting with alcohol and other substances to numb the pain then escalating to the high-tech blood doping that is seen today. Because of this stigma associated with the tour and professional cycling Armstrong’s statement about using the banned substances to create a level playing field are almost acceptable. However, with him admitting to doping in when he was held with such high regard in the world of professional athletes is a big eye opener. This is the beginning of a major shift in the attitude many cyclists have about doping.
This past summer, it was the 100th Tour de France. It was also the first time that the top finishers of the race have all tested negative for performance enhancers. That is not to say that in the eight years that samples are tested and kept they will not find anyone who cheated but this is big step in the right direction. Seeing Armstrong’s fall from grace was a big wake up call to the world of cycling, not just the Tour de France. It also helped with the election of the new UCI president Brian Cookson, the old president that was there during the years of doping and scandal are gone, giving the athletes and the organization as a whole a boost in the fight against doping.
With this progress being made after such scandal rocked the professional cycling circuit it looks hopeful that doping is no longer a key aspect of the sport. Hopefully this is something that will continue and the reputation of the Tour can be restored along with that of professional cycling.