Denis Menchov’s two-year ban for biological passport violations was never formally announced and only came to public notice on Saturday after a table listing current and recent doping sanctions appeared on the UCI website.
Speaking to the Associated Press about the curious case, however, UCI spokesman Louis Chenaille said that cycling’s governing body has “a new way of communicating” on doping violations.
According to AP, the UCI will – with the apparent exception of “some” high-profile cases – no longer issue press releases to announce positive tests and bans. The information will instead be posted to its website, without fanfare, as happened in the Menchov case.
This contrasts with the approach promised by UCI president Brian Cookson in his election manifesto in May of last year. "It is critical that the UCI embraces a more open and transparent approach in the way it conducts business," Cookson wrote at the time.
The UCI did not immediately respond to Cyclingnews' request for further clarification on its new communication policy.
Menchov last raced with the Katusha team in March 2013 and retired in May 2013 citing a knee injury. According to the UCI’s table of doping sanctions, he is currently serving a two-year ban for biological passport violations, which expires on April 9, 2015.
Chenaille told AP that the UCI had not initially issued a press release on Menchov’s biological passport ban because he had retired and was no longer licensed to compete.
After the news of Menchov's ban broke on Saturday afternoon, the UCI belatedly published a statement on its website confirming the ban and explaining that proceedings had been opened against him in 2013. Pat McQuaid was UCI president at the time, and he was succeeded by Cookson in October of last year.
“The rider has exercised his procedural rights and accepted a proposal of sanction in accordance with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules,” read the statement. “WADA and RUSADA have been duly informed and the sanction published on the UCI list of doping sanctions.”
Menchov was stripped of his results from the Tours de France of 2009, 2010 and 2012, but not of any others in that time frame, including his victory at the 2009 Giro d’Italia. The UCI statement said that Menchov was stripped of his Tour results because they were the "competitions during which abnormalities were clearly identified."
The UCI did not immediately respond when Cyclingnews asked why Menchov had not been stripped of any other results.
Menchov’s ban was not the only revelation from the UCI’s list of recent doping sanctions. There was confirmation that Carlos Barredo is banned until October 17 of this year for biological passport violations, and the Spaniard has been stripped of all of his results between October 26, 2007 and September 24, 2011.
Mauro Santambrogio’s reduced ban for his positive test for EPO at last year’s Giro has been confirmed as ending on November 2, 2014, while Mustafa Sayar has been banned until July 10, 2015.