Mark Cavendish defends cycling following Lance Armstrong revelations
Last Updated: 13/10/12 9:49am
Mark Cavendish believes it is unfair to single out cycling as a 'dirty' sport in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping revelations.
The Team Sky rider has been the latest high-profile figure from the world of cycling to react to the US Anti-Doping Agency's damning report into Armstrong's reign as a seven-time Tour de France champion.
USADA's report paints a picture of widespread doping through Armstrong's US Postal team and the sport in general during that era, but Cavendish insists those days are gone.
The former world champion is adamant that the current generation of riders compete in a much cleaner environment and has called on cycling's cynics to acknowledge the strides that he says have been made against doping.
"Everyone knows what cycling was like in the past and now cycling is getting tarnished again because of the past," Cavendish told Sky Sports News.
"If you put the time, effort and money into catching the cheats then you will do it. Cycling does that and cycling brings up stuff from the past to do it."
"The question I always get asked is, 'how can cycling move forward?'
"Well it is moving forward but (some) people won't let it because there are cynics and people with closed minds and there is going to be stuff which comes up from the past.
"It's not fair to tarnish the riders who are doing it now with a brush they don't deserve to be tarnished with."
Cycling's doping scandals have been well documented but Cavendish says cheating is not just confined to his sport.
He added: "The amount of people who just say, 'cyclists' and then pretend to inject something in their arm - it's a stupid closed-minded view on it.
"Cheating happens everywhere - in every sport, in every country and in every aspect of life. (It happens) in entertainment, there are going to be journalists who cheat to get a better story.
"If you put the time, effort and money into catching the cheats then you will do it. Cycling does that and cycling brings up stuff from the past to do it.
"It's not fair to say it's a dirty sport it's just that they (the anti-doping authorities) don't care about the image of the franchise (in catching the cheats).
"It shows that they wanted things to change and they still want to things to be better in the future."