GERARDMER, France — Retired Russian rider Denis Menchov — who won the Spanish Vuelta twice and the 2009 Giro d’Italia — has been given a two-year ban and stripped of his results in three Tour de France races for anti-doping rule violations, a spokesman for the International Cycling Union confirmed on Saturday.
The ruling came to light in a table of doping sanctions posted on the UCI website on June 30, but it passed largely unnoticed until Saturday.
Menchov, who retired last year, is banned until April 9, 2015, and has been stripped of his results in the Tours de France in 2009, 2010, and 2012, according to the table.
In a phone interview with The Associated Press, UCI spokesman Louis Chenaille explained that the UCI, under new president Brian Cookson, has found “a new way of communicating” on doping violations: By simply placing the information, when warranted, on its website — a just-the-facts approach — and not issuing news releases.
Chenaille added, however, that in some cases of high-profile riders caught doping or found to have had irregular biological passport parameters, the UCI might issue news releases. It did not in this case because Menchov is no longer licensed or competing, he said. A probe of Menchov’s parameters in the biological passport, which can take years to turn up anomalies, began under Cookson’s predecessor, Chenaille said.
Chenaille also explained that Menchov was stripped of the Tour de France results only in those three years — including in 2009, when he rode in the Tour weeks after winning the Giro — because UCI experts found adverse readings during the French race, not the Italian one.
In a statement sent to the AP late Saturday, the UCI said “abnormalities were clearly identified” during those Tours, and Menchov “accepted a proposal of sanction.”
As for why Menchov was suspended even after he’s retired, Chenaille responded: “Because he might come back.”