Waking up this morning to the news that Alberto Contador, three times winner of the Tour de France, had failed a drugs test filled me with a sense of dread. As a cycling fan and keen amateur cyclist I'm all too familiar with people rubbishing the sport. This dread was proven to be well founded with various Tweets being read out on Sky news essentially underlining the perception in people's minds that cycling is riddled with cheats.
Alberto Contador's career will probably forever be tarnished by today's revelations, whatever the result of his appeal. It was interesting to see however veteran British cyclist - and high profile anti-doping campaigner- David Millar say that he believes Contador should have been given time to explain himself.
It is true that a series of high profile scandals have rocked the cycling world, what is also true is that there are a new generation of riders, team principles and sponsors who are working to rid cycling of doping. These efforts have already started to pay dividends but building a reputation can take a lifetime as the old cliche says.
Cycling is increasingly threatened by competition for people's attention from other sports which are not tarnished by constant revelations about cheating. The rise of football particularly, but also US based sports such as basketball, as well as new markets in developing countries mean potential sponsors have a wide choice of destinations for their money.
The bicycle is a great invention that is such a simple and cheap mode of transport people will always jump on a bike. Whether future generations will jump to watch the Tour de France remains to be seen. The UCI, cycling's governing body, needs to recognise this before it's too late.