Former road world champion Philippe Gilbert says he is in favour of the strong new anti-doping regulations in cycling, but insists the attention brought to the issue can be detrimental to the sport.
The Belgian rider talked of the sport’s clean new bread at the Dubai Tour, where he lies eighth overall behind John Degenkolb, saying that cycling’s determination to beat the problem puts it ahead of its rivals in anti-doping controls.
But BMC rider Gilbert, 32, said that if the media stopped talking about doping, the image of the sport could be drastically improved.
“There’s doping in other sports as well,” Gilbert told Gulf News. “The only difference may be that in cycling we have strong doping controls and in other sports these controls may be either non-existent or most often the associations are not interested in catching the cheats.
“In the case of cycling, and it is a very good thing, we have such strong measures that cyclists don’t even get a chance to defend themselves. Everything becomes so public and it is so embarrassing. But all this is because we have such strong anti-doping measures in our sport. I believe that cycling is not worse than other sports.
“I am of the opinion that cycling is already better [in the field of anti-doping], and perhaps if the media stops speaking about the doping then we may be able to do cycling a huge favour and improve its image drastically. I believe this could be a good step for cycling.”