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Athletics star says "warped and damaged" sport could damage the Olympic brand...

The Olympic athletics star Daley Thompson has called for cycling to be banned from the Olympics, saying that the "warped and damaged" sport has the potential to tarnish the reputation of the Games.

The 54 year old double gold medal-winner Thompson went on to slam the UCI for their legal action against against journalist Paul Kimmage, who reported that they had covered up positive tests from Armstrong.

Thompson said: "The governing body are a disgrace. Suing people who report on the sport, and put it in the papers? Well, this whole subject isn't going to go quietly away as the evidence mounts up. I hope that he [Kimmage] sues them straight back for what they've done to him."

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Thompson said he would like to see cycling placed back in the "hands of people who actually care about it - the people who come from the grass roots."

He added: "The whole UCI are clearly not fit for purpose. I don't know if they're allowed to, but it really is the sort of thing where the IOC should be able to step in and say, "Hold on a minute. If you want to be a part of our family, you need to sort things out".

"I don't know if they have the power to do that but they should. I know there are links but the Olympics is a very special thing, it carries a lot of weight and it should use its influence.

"There should be sanctions against cycling being a part of the next Olympic Games unless they put their house in order. I want drug cheats thrown out, never to return.

"I'm not defending them, but we need to look at how things developed so that they could cheat in the first place. Sanctions against cheating athletes are essential but they also need to be applied against seemingly complicit governing bodies.

"I don't think people who take part in cycling, the competitors and the people at the grass roots who go out at the weekend on their bikes just for the sheer love of it, feel any sort of connection or even confidence in the people who run their sport, and that's terrible.

"The two sides, the governing body and the competitors have grown so far apart that it has become a disgrace and it's not fair on cycling. The loser is the very sport they're meant to be protecting and we should always remember that it's not the people at the top who own the sport, not the people in the nice offices and the big, flash hotels.

'It's the cyclists who are looking at the reputation of their sport suffering, and it's not right."

While Thompson himself has always been vehemently anti-doping, athletics as a sport has been historically far from clean. At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, doping was so prevalent in the sport that six of the eight finalists that lined up to run the 100m race would fail drugs tests themselves or be implicated in their use during their careers, including Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and Linford Christie.

Ben Johnson subsequently told CNN: "You only cheat if no one else was not doing it. I was aware of what other people were doing in the field. I just did it better than anyone else. It doesn't make you a fast runner ... It was my training regime that was better than the rest of the world. My training was tailored for Ben Johnson and my coach was a genius. Now the whole world is using my program."

It was a further 12 years before WADA was set up, and even more recently Marion Jones admitted steroid use as she prepared for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, in which she won five medals.

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.