Johannesburg - Former Tour de France stage winner Robert Hunter says Lance Armstrong has tainted the image of cycling, but he insists the seven-time tour champion should not be entirely shunned.
The US Anti-Doping Agency recently reported extensive evidence that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his victories in the gruelling race.
The International Cycling Union accepted sanctions last week that included banning Armstrong from the sport for life and stripping him of his tour titles.
“You can never condone the use of banned substances in sport. It is wrong," Hunter, one of South Africa's best ever road cyclists, said on Monday.
"The whole Armstrong issue definitely tainted cycling’s image, but for me personally, Armstrong is not just all bad, no matter what he has done.
"He is an incredible athlete and his performances in the Tour de France were something special.”
Hunter, meanwhile, confirmed he would participate in next month's Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge race in Johannesburg to raise funds for charity.
“It is very late in the season for me to still be cycling, but I enjoy being part of the Cycle Challenge because it is a true celebration of cycling,” said Hunter, who won Johannesburg race in 1999.