Cycling SA warns cyclists
Johannesburg - Cycling SA (CSA) president William Newman says drug cheats will be punished regardless of their status in the sporting code.
The International Cycling Union's (UCI) stripped Lance Armstrong of his record seven Tour titles on Monday, and Newman said CSA had a zero tolerance towards doping in sport.
"It's a very disappointing day in sport," said Newman on Tuesday.
"There is no place for people who cheat in sport and we commend the UCI on what they have done.
"This shows that you will be caught, no matter who you are."
The UCI decision comes after a report released by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that said Armstrong used doping to help win Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005.
Newman said the world-wide doping problem was a negative by-product in the sport and a lot more needed to be done in combating the issue.
"Education is important and we need to get our athletes educated on doping, encouraging a clean way of doing the sport," he said.
"We need to continue our anti-doping efforts and step up our testing as well as the education around such issues.
"Our close partnership with the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) will continue to raise the bar in educating riders on the issue."
CSA planned to use their next big event on the calendar, the 94.7 Cycle Challenge, as a platform to reiterate their message on doping and hoped this would encourage a clean way of competing.
"We will continue to use all platforms to stress that there is no place for doping and all riders must be on the straight and narrow," Newman said.
"There are measures in place to weed out doping."
In their efforts towards combating doping, Newman said CSA regularly invited SAIDS to conduct random tests on the riders.
SAIDS Chairman Shuaib Manjra said in a statement on Tuesday that South Africa did not have high positive samples of doping in cycling.
Manjra, however, stressed that the Armstrong saga should serve as a warning to all athletes that doping did not pay.
"Armstrong used the most sophisticated devices to avoid detection including autologous blood transfusions, intravenous EPO and micro-doses of testosterone," Manjra said.
Manjra points out that when using EPO in the early days there was no detection method.
"However, once such a method was developed the laboratories re-analysed stored samples tests from Armstrong showed signs of EPO use.
"So clearly we have more methods now that we can use to detect doping."
Manjra stressed that blood doping was very difficult to detect.
This has prompted SAIDS to introduce a biological passport programme that tracks the blood and steroid profiles of athletes in addition to existing tools for identifying doping cheats.