London – Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy admits he is shocked and depressed by the latest revelations in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
Hoy was digusted to read that a report by the US Anti-Doping Administration (USADA) claims Armstrong enforced a drugs culture at the US Postal team during his reign as one of cycling's most successful riders.
Armstrong, who recovered from cancer to dominate professional cycling, maintains his innocence but the American has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after a long USADA investigation into allegations of doping.
And Hoy told BBC Radio Five: “It's so depressing because of the guy's books he wrote that were inspirational to people with cancer, and his cancer charity on one side doing so many positive things. Then you find out this.
“I think it's the scale of it that's really shocked people as well as who it is. The number of people involved, it's on a huge scale.”
Hoy, the most successful Olympic cyclist of all-time, claims he had harboured suspicions about Armstrong at the time of his Tour de France victories, but tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“You have to take those performances at face value,” he added. “Until they're proven guilty I think you have to assume that they're clean.
“In that era, there were a lot of people testing positive. The guys who were coming second and third behind Lance were testing positive so there was an element of suspicion surrounding him, but I always try and give people the benefit of the doubt.”
Now Hoy insists the sport must try and move on from the scandal in a bid to clean up its reputation.
“At least cycling is doing something to try to eradicate it no matter how big the name is, but it is very sad,” he said.
“It's so hard on these athletes, myself included, who work very hard. We do it clean, we put in years and years of effort and we make sure we have the correct diet and we rest properly.
“We don't go out drinking. You sacrifice a lot and then you win a gold medal but there will be a percentage thinking 'well, I wonder if there was drugs involved in that performance'.
“So it's frustrating, and it's sad, but at least we're actually naming and shaming people, and it doesn't matter how big the names are.” – Sapa-AFP