sport

Armitstead: I'm not naive

Britain's Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead has insisted she is not being naive in claiming cycling is now a clean sport.

Armitstead was forced to issue a clarification of her position on Twitter after a BBC interview in which she said cycling should move on from talking about its doping past.

It comes after Nicole Cooke, the 2008 Olympic road race champion who retired this week, took a parting swipe at dopers and especially Lance Armstrong ahead of his interview with Oprah Winfrey tomorrow.

Armitstead said on Twitter: "Probably shouldn't give the bullies the time of day but my opinion in my own words: what LA [Armstrong] has done to the sport of cycling is unforgivable.

"I am happy the truth has come out for the good of cycling. I am not naive, cycling is not 100% clean but which sport is?

"I am a part of a new generation of cyclists who compete honestly and quite rightly feel upset and disappointed that it is suddenly an expectation of me to be a politician.

"Cycling is a beautiful sport which I love, I have no issue with NC [Cooke's] statement and believe in everyone's right to an opinion.

"But I have a job which takes up enough of my energy without being abused on twitter."

Armitstead had earlier said cycling should not continue to be tarnished by past issues of doping.

She told BBC Sport: "To me it's old news and should be left there. I just find it upsetting because the sport that I love, cycling, is clean now. My sport now is not that sport any more.

"We shouldn't be adding fuel to the fire because for me, if I was a general member of the public and I saw someone in Nicole's position, at the top elite level of sport saying something like that, you're going to believe it."

Cooke revealed she had been offered performance-enhancing drugs during her career, but Armitstead said she herself has not been.

The 24-year-old from Otley was adamant the men's side of the sport is clean too. Her boyfriend is Adam Blythe, who rides for BMC Racing.