By Sara Hicks 23 October 2012 – ABC Gold Coast

Cycling champion Sara Carrigan calls for cycling to be ‘entirely cleaned out’ of doping cheats.

It’s the most scandalous and conspiratorial doping revelation in cycling’s history.

With news that Lance Armstrong is stripped of seven Tour De France titles and banned for life ABC Gold Coast asks local cycling legends what they think is in store for the sport.

At four o’clock this morning Sara Carrigan started pushing into the wind on a ‘gorgeous’ ride to Springbrook.

The legendary cyclist excitedly leads their regular ride with athletes and amateurs, connected by the way cycling ‘has touched each of them for the better’.

Sara views drug cheats however, as burglars.

“I’ve been one of those riders who’ve looked up to athletes who’ve been busted for doping and my heart breaks, absolutely shatters.”

But along with many competitive cyclists Sara believes the scandal is an opportunity.

“My first reaction was of hope; Hope that this was a step in the right direction to have the whole doping scandal opened up; To give hope to junior riders to have a clean future ahead of them.”

A former Olympic Champion, Australian Champion, Commonwealth Games Champion and World Cup Champion, Sara now coaches local emerging and talented cyclists…needless to say, drug free.

Lance Armstrong’s ‘disrespectful’ (as Sara describes) cheating is being labelled the biggest scandal to hit the sport of cycling.

Cycling is the second biggest sport in the world behind soccer and huge on the Gold Coast; home to former champions, emerging stars, professionals intensively training and amateurs all enthusiastic about the positive lifestyle.

Yet Sara is grateful to never have come across doping in her career.

“I think this would’ve played havoc with my mind – wondering if it would be possible to win.

“As a coach now, it would be difficult for me to inspire my elite athletes and encourage them to be the best in the world if I didn’t think it was possible to compete and win clean.”

Sara says a clean out of dopers can’t be half-done.

“We find in every aspect of life people who are no doing the right thing and I guess that’s the case in sport as well.

“It’s important to look to the people who do the right thing, and I’m one of those.

“I was able to achieve my life dreams and now I’m able to inspire others and help them enjoy the beautiful sport that cycling is.”

World class coach Bob Panter agrees it’s ‘time to move on’ and for locals to celebrate cycling by getting out there and enjoying it.

“Let’s remember that Lance Armstrong was convincingly beaten by Gold Coast CATS Cycling Club member Darren Smith in sprints and mountains and flat roads every day that they raced in the lead up to the Barcelona Olympics.”

We never found out if Darren would take the sort of titles Armstrong later won. He tragically died 20 years ago when struck by a vehicle during training.

But Darren legend lives on. This November the Gold Coast Festival of Cycling again features the Darren Smith Cycling Classic, an elite race in his memory.

Darren’s best friend and local legend Robbie McEwan has won the race more than any other rider. Retired champion now coach, Robbie rode with Lance at points in his elite career and is ‘disappointed’ that the evidence confirms Armstrong’s doping history.

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