Armstrong’s chance to help heal the sport he damaged 

As the resounding success of the national road championships is celebrated, the eyes of the local cycling fraternity will later this week turn to the sport’s darker side.

On Friday, seven-time Tour de France winning cyclist Lance Armstrong will give his first formal interview since the United States Anti-Doping Agency found overwhelming evidence that he doped during his reign as the world’s leading cyclist.

Armstrong will discuss the matter with high-profile television personality Oprah Winfrey in what on face value will be an opportunity to set the record straight.

According to media reports this week, it seems Armstrong will make an admission of drug use - whether it will encapsulate an entire laying bare of how, when and who was allegedly involved is much less clear.

Despite the amazing efforts on display this week in Ballarat, the underlying suspicion regarding any successful cyclist is that they could be tainted. Without even a shred of truth.

This has tainted the sport to the degree which will take many years, maybe even a generation to repair.

Simply, if Armstrong was indeed complicit in drug use to the degree that the US authorities believe, then the extent of abuse within the peleton of the cycling elite probably knew no bounds during the past 20 years. Cycling officials have taken a strict approach to drug taking, yet the biggest fish always eluded capture.

Armstrong’s interview will have a massive impact on the sport either way.

If he does admit doping, questions will be asked as to just how he remained unpunished for such a long period. In the unlikely situation that he remains steadfast in denial, most won’t believe.

The hope is that the sport of cycling will be able to move past the dark moment.

As we’ve seen in Ballarat during the past week, the spectacle and atmosphere the sport can create is unique.

Cycling needs the likes of dual Australian champion Luke Durbridge to re-energise belief from those who follow the sport as the future beyond the troubles of the past which will be on display for all this Friday. 

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