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Is Cavendish right about cycling now being the cleanest sport?


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http://www.bbc.co.uk...ycling/20049387

He's very passionate about it in this video clip!

More on Cavendish's reaction to Armstrong here:

Mark Cavendish says Lance Armstrong and other drug cheats should confess to doping in order to prevent further damage to cycling's tarnished image.

Cavendish described revelations about Armstrong as "frustrating" but insists cycling is one of the cleanest sports.

"If you've done something, confess," he said. "That anyone can damage the sport I love right now, it's frustrating."

Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life for doping offences.

A United States Anti-Doping Agency report called the American a "serial" cheat who led "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

Despite evidence of widespread systematic doping in the past, Cavendish maintains that cycling only appears to have more dopers because the testing is much more stringent than in other sports and insisted there are cheats in "every walk of life".

He told BBC Sport's Matt Slater: "There are cheats in entertainment, journalists cheat, every single sport has cheats.

"If you put the effort into catching them and you have a structure that does things properly, you're going to catch a cheat.

"It doesn't happen in other sports, not because they are clean but because it's not got the structure cycling has. In my eyes, cycling is the cleanest sport."

Cavendish said he respected those such as Great Britain team-mate David Millar who have openly discussed their doping and therefore played a part in trying to clean up the sport.

"I've worked with David Millar," said Cavendish. "This guy's remorseful. He's repented."

He also praised others, including HTC director Rolf Aldag.

"These guys care about the sport," he said. "They ruin their reputation to move the sport on, but other people care more about themselves."

In his candid interview with BBC Sport, Cavendish also said he felt let down by Team Sky, arguing he was misled by the British-based team into believing they would compete for the green jersey in tours.

The Manx sprinter, 27, said he joined Team Sky in 2011 believing he would be able to battle it out for the green jersey in the Tour de France points competition but ended uptaking a back seat as team-mate Bradley Wiggins secured overall victory and the yellow jersey.

"I wouldn't have gone to Sky in the first place if they had said you're not going to win the green next year," said Cavendish.

"If I wanted to go just for green, I wouldn't have gone to Sky anyway, but we had this idea of yellow and green and that it was two British riders on a British team backed by British sponsors.

"That was a big thing for me. I'm a patriotic lad."

Cavendish said Sky's decision not to go for green "kind of threw what my whole career is about into turmoil" but said he would not rule out a return to the Dave Brailsford-led team in the future.

"The best thing I did was go," added the 2011 world road race champion, who now rides for Omega Pharma-QuickStep.

"I wanted to stay friends. I wouldn't rule out ever going back but that's up to them. I had a wicked time and was part of history."

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I'm unsure about that, for decades road cycling has had a routine culture of doping. I think it would be fair to say almost every top road cyclist between 1990-2010 was at it to some degree at some point in their career, that may extend back even further.

Can such a deeply engrained culture be changed in just a few short years? It's changing an entire culture of a sport, rather than just the habits of a few.

Very good question and it has to be right that questions are being asked about the current crop of cyclists. As you say this is historical from as far back as these drugs became available to sportsmen.

He is right though to question other sports because many of them have no where near the testing structures that cycling now have. There must be other sports out there that are not a clean as people think!

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It's all about perception.

There are stringent tests in place which make it far more difficult to beat the system, but if they are being administered by the same organisation who are charged with promoting the sport, there is an obvious conflict of interests. Cycling is undoubtedly cleaner than at any point in the past, but like other sports, where money and glory is involved, there will always be someone there offering an edge......and someone prepared to risk it.

The UCI fought tooth and nail to discredit USADA and their efforts to out Armstrong for what he was, including backing his legal defence against them, and only reluctantly bowed to public pressure and the overwhelming evidence presented in that final report. Even then the organisation's President took a swipe at a couple of the whistleblowers! They allowed Armstrong to get away with it for so long, with a mixture of incompetence and corruption - more so the latter imo. They need to accept that and instead of clinging to power, make sweeping changes.

There will be a UCI meeting this Friday to discuss the fallout from this and to put plans in place for the future of cycling. In attendance will be some of those who were complicit in the way the sport was run in the late 90's/early 00's, so what does that do for the image they would like to portray?

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