Cycling’s Secret: It May Be the World’s Cleanest Sport
Now that Lance Armstrong has been exposed as perhaps the most doped athlete in history, the mainstream media and the public at large can’t stop talking about how “dirty” the sport of cycling is. Lance Armstrong proves it: “They’re all on drugs.” The Onion nicely summed up the global disdain last week by publishing “The Last Article Ever Written About Cycling.”
Already two major sponsors have given up on the sport, including the Dutch financial giant Rabobank, which has funded teams for decades. It seems unlikely that other major companies would want to risk the embarrassment suffered by longtime Armstrong sponsor Nike, which produced ads in which Armstrong self-righteously insisted he was clean, and even had a building on its corporate campus named after the disgraced cyclist. “There is no sport with a bigger credibility fight on its hands than cycling,” wrote Bonnie Ford of espn.com, one of the sport’s most astute commentators.
But the head-shakers and finger-waggers have it exactly wrong. Yes, the Armstrong scandal revealed systemic cheating in a sport that was corrupt to its core—a decade ago. In the landscape of professional sport right now, cycling may actually be one of the cleaner sports around.