Geraint Thomas sees benefits from Lance Armstrong's confession

Lance Armstrong admits doping to win cycling titles

Double Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas hopes cycling will eventually benefit from Lance Armstrong's confession of systematic drug taking.

Armstrong, 41, admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France wins.

While acknowledging the damage done to the sport's image, Thomas believes the scandal will deter others from cheating and will help the fight against drugs.

He said: "It shows no-one is safe any more. That's definitely a good thing."

Armstrong made the confession during his interview with chat-show host Oprah Winfrey in front of a worldwide television audience.

In 2012, the American was stripped of his Tour de France titles won from 1999 to 2005 after being labelled a "serial cheat" by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada).

In a detailed report, the body said he led "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen".

Thomas hopes the investigation into Armstrong's drug taking will have educated the anti-doping agencies and ensure a scandal on such a grand scale never denigrates cycling again.

"If this doesn't put people off [taking drugs] then I don't know what will," Thomas told BBC Radio Wales' Back Page programme.

"Hopefully we can finally close that chapter and move on and definitely learn from it.

"The anti-doping guys must have learned from it and know everything that went on there now. They can stop that happening again for sure."

Thomas, who won his second Olympic gold in the men's team pursuit at London 2012, considers himself part of a new generation of "clean" cyclist, far removed from the drug culture perpetrated by "Armstrong and his cronies".

The temptation to take drugs has never arisen for him, he says. He finds it hard to relate to Armstrong's reasoning that he viewed his cheating as "a level playing field".

"That just shows the mentality that he had and the culture back then," said Thomas, a member of the Team Sky professional cycling team and three-time Tour de France competitor.

"That's what has got to change and what is changing. It's caused a lot of change in the peleton.

"Obviously Sky are totally anti-doping, 100%. We've lost a few members of staff because of it and I like other teams are following that as well, such as GreenEDGE and Garmin.

"That's what's great about the sport at the minute."

Despite Armstrong's confession, the scandal shows few signs of abating as the World Anti-Doping Authority and Usada want the Texan to explain the full extent of his doping "under oath".

Thomas acknowledges Armstrong will cast a shadow over cycling for years to come. His legacy, says the Welshman, is the public cynicism that all cyclists are on drugs.

But Thomas wants to move on, and says he would not have any words for Armstrong should they ever meet.

"I'd walk away and forget about him," said Thomas, who will race in the Tour Down Under in Australia from 22-27 January.

"I don't think he deserves any more air time than what he's got.

"We can all just finally move on and learn from it, and stop talking about him and actually talk about what's happening today.

"Talk about the future, the clean riders that are doing everything that they can. That's what it's all about."

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