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Chris Ford: Lance Armstrong does the right thing - and many years too late!

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Chris Ford
Chris Ford
Lance Armstrong.

 Lance Armstrong has done the right thing - but many years too late.

Armstrong's confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey airs tomorrow (Friday) in the United States. However, Oprah has already helpfully told us that Armstrong has confessed but not in the way she was expecting.

That means he may have been self-justificatory in his interview before finally 'fessing up.

Armstrong, despite having finally come out, has done some serious damage to the sport of cycling. Already reports indicate that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is preparing to re-consider cycling as an Olympic sport. If the IOC were to axe this sport from the Olympics, it would be a tragedy, particularly if it was caused by the actions of one formerly prominent cyclist. If the IOC were to take that extreme action as a result of any review, then what about the longstanding Olympic track and field programme given that Valerie Adams was denied her gold for a few days by that cheating Belarussian who shall not be named?

However, where doping is identified as an issue in cycling (as in all sports) it needs to be cleaned up.  Doping, as most people know, is practised across all sporting codes, albeit, by a tiny minority within each sport. The majority of sportspeople, though, compete cleanly and ethically and that includes within cycling.

Therefore, not all cyclists should be tarnished with the same brush. Armstrong appears to be a rare example of cheating on a big scale. He needs to be punished further by the legal authorities. The cycling world has already terminated its relationship with him. I find it appalling that Armstrong is using this interview to get back into the cycling authorities good books. I don't think they will or are going to buy this for one second. Armstrong's cycling career is as good as gone - he won't be trusted again.

By talking to the biggest celebrity interviewer America has, Armstrong is wanting rehabilitation. Of course, I'm supportive of any criminal (be it criminal or civil) getting a second chance but when it comes to sport, people have to compete fairly and squarely. Armstrong is a sporting criminal but he shouldn't get a second chance. We need to trust our top sportspeople - otherwise, sportspeople will be viewed as the next dishonourable profession to belong to joining journalists, used car salesman, and politicians in the league of dishonourable professions. And that would be tragic in a society where obesity is on the rise among young people.

So, come on Armstrong, you've got your confession out there,  that's great. But for the sake of sport stay off your bike!

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