Cadel Evans understands the doping confessions of former Australian professional cyclists Matt White and Stephen Hodge have dented the nation's faith in the sport.
Cycling has been rocked by revelations of the depth of drug taking during the disgraced Lance Armstrong's reign in the Tour de France between 1999 and 2005.
Both White (coach) and Hodge (vice-president) have stood down from influential positions at Cycling Australia after admitting they had taken performance-enhancing drugs during their cycling careers.
Speaking in Paris following the announcement of next year's Tour de France route, Australian 2011 champion Evans accepted damage had been done to the Australian public's confidence in cycling.
"That is going to cost us," he said.
His comments followed Armstrong being stripped of seven Tour de France titles after a damning report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Cycling's peak body, the UCI, called for the Texan's achievements to be forgotten and there were no images of the American in the Tour de France presentation on Wednesday.
Evans praised USADA for lifting a lid on the rampant use of drugs with the Australian stating he had noticed a big change since first competing on the 2005 tour.
He thought the media reaction was over the top but understood that feelings were running high.
"I would say it has been very hysterical," he said.
"I can understand it is very confronting for everyone involved and I was there trying to follow in 2005.
"I think if anyone should be disappointed it should be myself but these things cause change and already have caused changes and from these events we have already moved forward for the better.
"It is difficult to deal with at the moment but let's move on and look to the future."
Evans believed the sport had learned from the mistakes of the past and the sport was now on "a level playing field".
Writing on his website, he urged his fans to keep faith in the sport.
"For those who are disappointed with the situation right now: do not despair, do not abandon us now we are in our best years, preparing things for our most important moment yet - the future," he said.
Evans this week acknowledged meeting a doctor in 2000 at the centre of the doping scandal, Michele Ferrari, but said they had never discussed anything untoward.
A number of prominent figures such as disgraced American rider Tyler Hamilton and Australian anti-doping expert Anne Gripper have lauded Evans for being part of a new breed of clean cyclists.
"I don't know if there is anything going on in Australia at the moment for the newspapers to talk about," Evans said.
"They are very focused on that I noticed.
"These things happened years and years ago."