The UCI, cycling’s world governing body, and its president Brian Cookson, are facing criticism of their handling of the case of Denis Menchov, the Russian rider, who was last week retrospectively stripped of all his Tour de France results from 2009, 2010 and 2012 after irregularities in his biological passport were found.
The UCI did not communicate the decision directly to the public or the media, albeit it placed a document on its website on the case, but without making any announcement about it.
The decision has led to accusations that Cookson was reluctant to publicise the case because he was backed in his election campaign last year by Igor Makarov, the founder of Menchov's Katusha team.
However, Cookson told reporters: “I understand the implications of that. It [the Menchov decision] was not hidden at all. If I look at it, probably it would have been better if we had made a more positive announcement.
“I have not spoken to Mr Makarov about this and I haven't seen him since a management committee back in June so I understand why people say these things but it's not true.”
Cookson’s critics have included Pat McQuaid, his predecessor in the post and opponent in a bitter election campaign that featured accusations, counter-accusations and name-calling. McQuaid, who claimed that the case against Menchov was begun under his watch, said of the way in which the UCI handled the case: “I don't think you can do that. you have to be up front. When your system is working and working well, which it is, you need to be able to state that and get the credibility of the public and the sports public as well behind you. You need to make statements when you catch a big guy, and Menchov is a big guy.”
Menchov, who retired last year, has been banned until April 2015, in addition to being stripped of his results.