One of the sponsors of the international cycling union (UCI) is suing the organisation for $2m (€1.55m) claiming they mismanaged the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
The action has been launched by Australian sports clothing company Skins, which has sponsored world cycling for five years.
The legal action claims UCI president Pat McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen are responsible for a “total loss of confidence in professional cycling by the public”.
Skins chairman Jaimie Fuller said in a statement the company had believed cycling had “fundamentally reformed” after the Festina scandal in the 1990s but that had proven to not be the case.
The statement read: “The events of the last several months have made it abundantly clear that world cycling has not been the sport the general public and the corporate partners thought it was.
“Consequently, as chairman of a company that has made a significant financial and emotional investment, I am acting in order to send a message to the UCI and its senior office bearers that gross mismanagement and betrayal of trust is completely unacceptable.
“The recent report from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which blew the lid off Lance Armstrong’s systematic control of widespread doping, proved that the UCI its two leading figures, Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen, have failed to eradicate cheating within the sport.
“In fact, Mr McQuaid and Mr Verbruggen refused to even acknowledge that the problem was so entrenched until USADA forced them into submission. In short, we say that the UCI, Mr McQuaid and Mr Verbruggen have failed us, the sport and the public who love cycling.”
Skins are using the law firm of Cedric Aguet, who is also representing Paul Kimmage, the former cyclist and writer who has lodged a criminal complaint against McQuaid and Verbruggen.