ROCKHAMPTON'S Alex O'Dea argues cycling is a far cleaner sport than it was in disgraced cyclist's Lance Armstrong's prime.
Armstrong is alleged to have run the most sophisticated and professionalised performance enhancing drug (PED) program known and as more cyclists involved come forward to admit their use, negativity is building around the sport.
As a rider for the Queensland Academy of Sport, O'Dea said cycling authorities such as the US Anti Doping Agency were making a stand to give clean riders their rightful recognition as winners.
"The sport is far cleaner now than it was back then and it is more encouraged to be a clean rider, rather than to win at any cost," O'Dea said.
"There was a bad time for the sport but now there is a lot of everyday people doing charity rides and things like that so it isn't all about drugs.
"Everyone needs to stop trying to put the sport down as not only are us clean riders competing against other athletes and drugs, we now have to compete against the media and people who are just trying to put the sport into disrepute."
O'Dea argues the fact that is not only an issue in cycling, but in the sports world in general and this is reflected in recent allegations against sporting role models across the board.
"Drugs are everywhere," O'Dea said.
"Just look at how many people overall use drugs for either good (medicine) or bad.
"Everyday items literally have banned substances to the extent where I can't take certain medicines if I fall ill, because it's on the banned list."
O'Dea recognised that Armstrong's case was a lot more extreme than basic medicine bans, but said people didn't often take that into account.
"People from outside the professional sporting world don't understand these things," O'Dea said.
"Things like basic cold and flu tablets are a 'no' and one little slip up on something little and harmless can make a drug test positive.
"Most people don't know that."