The UCI's Management Committee issued today a call for respect in the doping case of Alberto Contador, saying that the rider is presumed innocent until the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) deems otherwise.
Alberto Contador's 2010 Tour de France victory remains in doubt after the UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed the decision of the Spanish federation to acquit him on doping charges stemming from a clenbuterol positive from last July.
Because the CAS, which has the ultimate authority to rule on Contador's innocence or guilt, will not decide the verdict until August, Contador will participate in the Tour de France before the case is settled.
"As it has already done on several occasions, the UCI recognises the legitimacy of the request made by Mr Contador's defence team, and has accepted that request in the interests of guaranteeing the rider a fair trial," the UCI press release stated. "However, the UCI also perfectly understands why the timetable set by the Court of Arbitration for Sport has caused some disappointment, even incomprehension, among many observers within the cycling community as well as the general public.
"The Management Committee is aware that, objectively, the duration of the proceedings, which might be considered excessively long, is the logical result of the need for justice to be administered properly."
The released asked media and fans to "show the utmost sense of responsibility in the coming days and weeks", and reiterated Contador's right to continue to compete "insofar as he has not been found guilty by the CAS".
The UCI did announce previously that it would seek the disqualification of all of Contador's results from this season should the CAS decide he is guilty of a doping offence.
"Until that time, the UCI Management Committee asks that we respect Alberto Contador's right to be treated like every other rider who takes the start of the Tour de France.
"The prestige of the event warrants it, and the dignity of all athletes demands it. "