By Sasha Ramnarine
Canadian cyclist Michael Barry admitted Wednesday to doping while he was a member of Lance Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service Team.
Barry is one of 11 of Armstrong’s former teammates to give sworn testimony to the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Paul Melia, CEO and president of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports told Humber News that Barry’s admission sheds light on the conspiracy of silence surrounding cycling.
“I think his coming forward and admitting to doping and how deeply rooted it is in cycling will contribute to positive change within the sport,” Melia said, adding that Barry’s admittance might deter young athletes from risking their health.
“This is Barry’s first doping offence and since he provided testimony to the USADA and substantial assistance, his two year suspension was reduced to six months,” said Melia.
In addition to his six-month suspension, Barry’s records for competitive results from 2003 to 2006 have been disqualified.
“He notified us he has retired but if he wants to compete again, he must go through a testing pool,” said Melia.
The testing pool is a rigorous process.
“Once Barry informs us that he wants to go back to competing, he must let us know his whereabouts twenty-four-seven, three-sixty-five and give us a guaranteed one hour window every day as to where we can find him,” said Melia.
According to Melia, proposals to address the doping issue are now being discussed within the cycling community.
“This is a truth and reconciliation period, where people can come forward if they wish to speak about anyone who’s involved, to create amnesty and use as a method to open up communication,” said Melia. “The International Cycling Union, who are also the owners of the Tour de France, might offer this proposal.”
Melia told Humber News this proposal potentially would not involve sanctions for other cyclists who choose to come forward with information.
But Melia said such a proposal requires careful consideration.
“There are things that make it appealing but at the same time, serious backlash can occur,” said Melia. “We have to look at the implications and ramifications.”
According to CBC News, the USADA has imposed a lifetime ban on Lance Armstrong, with his seven Tour de France triumphs being nullified.
Armstrong maintains his innocence and insists he never cheated.