Monday, 22 October 2012

Can cycling's troubled past be fully exposed?

Armstrong has been found out but USADA want to uncover all the other hidden revelations
Today, the International Cycling Union (ICU) endorsed a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) decision to erase drugs cheat Lance Armstrong's career from the record books.
The decision is widely perceived as the first major step towards restoring the credibility of cycling, however, USADA chairman Travis Tygart doesn't plan on stopping there.

He is proposing a panel to receive confessions from dopers that have not yet come forward. The question is whether this can really ensure the slate is wiped completely clean?

"It is essential that an independent and meaningful Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established so that the sport can fully unshackle itself from the past.

"There are many more details of doping that are hidden, many more doping doctors, and corrupt team directors and the omerta has not yet been fully broken." Travis Tygart, USADA chairman.

Cyclists who have cheated in the past and chosen not admit to it to this day obviously have a complete disregard for the fundamentals of fair competition within the sport. 

From their perspective, they don't stand to gain anything from owning up to their mistakes. In their eyes, it will only bring shame upon themselves and help clean up the act of a sport which they contrived to tarnish in the first place.

The word 'incentive' has been banded about to encourage these cheats to come forward. The fact of the matter is they don't deserve anything in return for confessing to their actions. The only incentive for them should be the assurance of their own self-dignity and a clear conscience in their future lives. But is that really enough? In some cases, yes. In others, no.

I personally struggle to understand how a Truth and Reconciliation Commission can unequivocally guarantee that all the misdemeanours of cycling's past are exposed, nevertheless, I would gladly be proved wrong.

What's done is done. Lessons have to be learnt from the Armstrong saga and drawn upon without fail going forward. If too much focus is put on the past, it will only undermine the aim of creating a brighter future for the sport.

Further developments regarding USADA's plans are expected in the coming weeks. I, like many others, will be all ears.


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