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Tiernan-Locke called to clarify irregular blood values

Cycling News
September 29, 2013, 06:30,
September 29, 2013, 08:02
First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 29, 2013
UCI Road World Championships
Jose Rujano (Vancansoleil-DCM) rides next to Jonathan Tiernan-Locke at Fleche Wallonne

Jose Rujano (Vancansoleil-DCM) rides next to Jonathan Tiernan-Locke at Fleche Wallonne

  • Jose Rujano (Vancansoleil-DCM) rides next to Jonathan Tiernan-Locke at Fleche Wallonne
  • Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky Procycling)
  • Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky Procycling)
  • Jonathan Tiernan-Locke makes his Sky debut

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Period in question pre-dates rider's time with Sky

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky Procycling) has received a letter from the UCI calling into question his blood values dating back to September 2012. According to an article in the Sunday Times written by David Walsh, the period in question predates his time with Team Sky, with his results whilst with Endura now under suspicion.

Although Endura were not part of the Biological Passport system at the time, owing to their continental status, Tiernan-Locke was monitored following his victory at the Tour of Britain. The baseline values ascertained after a season of passport measurements during 2013 are what testers are now claiming render his limited 2012 data as suspect.

Tiernan-Locke had a banner 2012, winning the Tour Méditerranéen, Tour du Haut Var, Tour Alsace and the Tour of Britain, and signed with Sky on the merit of those results.

Tiernan-Locke was a surprise late withdrawal from the British team to take to the start line today in Florence at the time tweeting:

"Was sorry I had to withdraw from the worlds line up, just don't have the form to help the lads there. Good luck to team GB though!"

It appears, however, form is the least of his worries as he now has three weeks to provide an explanation to the UCI before proceedings will continue.

Team Sky respond

Team Sky, who pride themselves on a strict zero tolerance toward doping - going as far as demanding that riders sign a declaration confirming that they have had no past or present involvement in doping - issued a statement saying they have "no doubts over his performance, behaviour or tests at Team Sky."

"Team Sky has been informed by Jonathan Tiernan-Locke that the UCI has notified him of a potential discrepancy in his biological passport data," said Team Sky in a press release. "He has withdrawn from racing whilst his response to the UCI is prepared then considered by the UCI.

"We have no doubts over his performance, behaviour or tests at Team Sky and understand any anomaly is in readings taken before he joined the team. Team Sky has tried to respect what should be a confidential process, allowing the rider to explain in private, without prejudice, and the anti-doping authorities to do their valuable job.

"At this stage in the ongoing process we will not add any further detail."

The 2013 season had nearly gone off without another rider being called into question regarding passport values. In January, Leif Hoste was called under investigation after he retired in December of 2012. Carlos Barredo retired last year after a similar investigation.

Silver Bullet More than 1 year ago
So it begins! Phat wastes no time stickin it where it hurts
GuyIncognito More than 1 year ago
As Richard Moore points out, JTL had been training with Sky at their Tenerife training camps a very long time before September
ianfra More than 1 year ago
Confidential process.
ToreBear More than 1 year ago
This process should really be confidential until/if, the rider in question fails to explain the anomalies and a case is opened. I'm disappointed that this information became public.
Sam Hocking More than 1 year ago
I hope this media leaking merry go round from the UCI is the first thing Cookson stamps out. It's completely unacceptable to disclose information so early in the investigation, especially for the passport. I'm pretty sure there are WADA rules for this and UCI continually breaks them.
Reg Oakley More than 1 year ago
Do we really know it is a media leak from the UCI?
Sam Hocking More than 1 year ago
Announcements don't come from WADA - they don't even know the name of the athlete. I just don't see what benefit it serves other than whipping up conspiracy theories based on nothing. UCI should simply announce the results like every other sports governing body seems perfectly capable of doing and not simply 'investigations'
PeterMc More than 1 year ago
WADA don't make announcements but the test Labs have vary loooonnnnggg record of releasing data and naming athletes. How many times have we seen the Media lined up at the Hotels before the rider or their management have been informed by the UCI of a positive test?
DirtyWorks More than 1 year ago
As of sometime 2012, samples are anonymous to the lab. This was mentioned in the version release notes of WADA's athlete tracking software. While I agree it was probably a lab that leaked the Contador positive, it can't happen any more.
tamurlane26 More than 1 year ago
Surprise surprise a confidential process breaks down as soon as a British Rider is involved - me thinks the Gnomes have been busy already aiming shots at the new Head of UCI. Would hope on monday there is a rash of resignations from the UCI for all those who have been involved in this mess including the lawyers and press officers and their ilk
sunnydayrider More than 1 year ago
Torebear's right it should have been kept private until resolved. Trouble is questions have been asked all year how someone can ride so well for Endura and not be good enough to fetch the drinks for Team Sky
Pedal Pusher More than 1 year ago
Hmm.....Sky......still considered clean after they sack trainers, DS's and some riders move on and now this - the fallout will be interesting!
Frubberduck More than 1 year ago
In a sense this doesn't look too bad for Sky. Some guy dominates some conti races and performs well at worlds and then next year performs shockingly badly at Sky and we hear about blood irregularities from last year. Means he most likely on the juice last year and either not this year or on less this year.
Mark Hornsby More than 1 year ago
That assumes he was on the juice. No accusation has yet been made .. which is why this stage of the process is supposed to be confidential.
Sam Hocking More than 1 year ago
At Endura he was a team leader, at Sky he was little more than a bottle carrier. Of course he will have zero results in first year at pro level. Crikey, half the pelotons bottle carriers have had no results after 10 years or more in the peloton!
PeterMc More than 1 year ago
And yet the absolute reverse is fully acceptable? I mean we all have had our comments of Froomes rise to greatness.
Chris Todgers More than 1 year ago
yes, they sack anyone if it is uncovered that they might have been involved in doping. and why do you think that would that mean they are not clean? would you be more convinced if they didn't sack them, and kept them in the team. please explain.
GuyIncognito More than 1 year ago
As Richard Moore points out, JTL had been training with Sky at their Tenerife training camps a very long time before September
The Cobra More than 1 year ago
Surely if Sky had doped up JTL to win the Tour of Britain they would have carried on this year? His complete loss of form since joining Sky hardly indicates that he's been doping while riding for them.
GuyIncognito More than 1 year ago
I didn't offer any opinions, I just added information.
Chris Todgers More than 1 year ago
" A long time "? How long would that be then? Please add information.
Barca1 More than 1 year ago
I think that if this is related to doping, then in it could possibly support Sky's public stance on doping. Could his loss of form be related to increased testing and a higher level of scrutiny from being at Team Sky? They are investigating blood levels from when he was an Endura to now. Could it be that he has found it difficult to dope whilst he has been at team sky. Hence the poor form this season? Let's hope this anomaly can be explained. Cycling could do without this type of coverage.
Phil Oakley More than 1 year ago
I'd be interested to hear Brian Smith's views on this given he's a prominent supporter of clean cycling and his Endura links. Would he have known if JTL was breaking the rules? JTL has been complaining of fatigue all year and I wonder if this has shown up in his blood values in the form of low hematocrit. This has a been compared with last year when he was fresher and so the values look different. Just a theory. I want to believe that JTL is one of the good guys.
GuyIncognito More than 1 year ago
Brian Smith has already talked to the media. Says he knows JTL was clean until Sky took him under their wing. After that says he can't be sure but believes in JTL.
Phil Oakley More than 1 year ago
Thanks for this. Good to hear.
Chris Todgers More than 1 year ago
That's good then. And on the basis that the period after Sky took him under their wing is not under investigation, this must mean that JTL is clean if he was also clean under Brian Smith.
Ian Barber More than 1 year ago
This is a definite weakness in the Passport System. JTL has a history of illness and that could easily make his Passport look suspicious with the minimal data of (15 months?) that they have. I imagine people like Thor Hushovd who are also going through a similar illness will produce some dodgy results too. Imagine comparing Thor's 2011 results with his 2012/13.
ianfra More than 1 year ago
JTL has had a history of CFS. CFS is a bit like aneamia as it affects the blood cells. If you were to enalrge a pinprick of the blood x 10k the you would see some interesting things - such as strings of sticky blood that hold little oxygen. JTL has been sick a lot this year and he has, in the past, suffered a form of CFS. So guys, rather than jump to conclusions consider the impact of his CFS on his blood values and therefore his biological passport. And don't tell me I do not know what I am talking about - I have had CFS and I have been chairman of the CFS voluntary body in the UK in the past so I understand this area. Those who want to insinuate underhand practice by Sky, please ensure that you do so under the label of personal opinion and not as fact 'cos you don't know.
Mark Hornsby More than 1 year ago
All true, but rather than introduce new terminology and illnesses, probably easier to explain that as a symptom / side-effect of the Epstein–Barr virus / infectious mononucleosis / glandular fever that caused his retirement from cycling in 2005 and which is in the public domain. As with all the herpesviruses (80% of adults are infected with one of them, even if they don't necessarily experience symptoms) it is incurable and you may, or may not, suffer varying degrees of relapses throughout their life (I speak from personal experience here as I am on permanent twice-daily preventative antiviral drugs to control my otherwise frequent flare-ups).
ianfra More than 1 year ago
I know the feeling Mark. Sympathetic.
barn yard More than 1 year ago
something in the water at sky? how many more of their riders have rare blood conditions?
Mark Hornsby More than 1 year ago
There is nothing rare about herpes .. in fact it is probably the most common viral infection after the common cold.
JantonStentenan More than 1 year ago
Ya but it's totally preventable. So forgive me if I don't express the same sympathy for JLT as you do.
Mark Hornsby More than 1 year ago
Totally preventable? Really? If you think that, then you are just showing that you are as clueless as the feckless Heckler.
Ian Barber More than 1 year ago
How so? Oh mighty one.