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Race leader Tiernan Locke in the press conference
British rider requests delay
Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Team Sky) has requested that his biological passport hearing be delayed. No date had been confirmed for the hearing, but it was expected to have taken place in the last two months.
Today UK Anti-Doping confirmed that his hearing would now not happen until the summer. “The hearing of the anti-doping case against Mr Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has been postponed until the summer. This is at the athlete’s request. Proceedings are confidential until their conclusion, as dictated by the Anti-Doping Rules.”
Tiernan-Locke was originally suspended in September 2013, just ahead of the World Championships in Florence, Italy. The Team Sky rider had been scheduled to race at the event, but pulled out at the last minute, supposedly lacking the form. It was later revealed in a letter to the Sunday Times that he had registered anomalous values in his blood passport.
The values in question date from his time on the Endura Racing team. Due to his success during the 2012 season, a number of WorldTour teams were interested in signing him – including Team Sky and Garmin. In order to make the step up, Tiernan-Locke became part of the UCI’s biological passport system at the end of the 2012 season.
The 29-year-old was later suspended from Team Sky and hasn’t raced since September 2013. The case was opened in December of the same year, but due to numerous delays it has been 156 days since then with no decision. UK Anti-Doping refused to give any further details on the exact date of the hearing.
“To protect the rights of all involved and the integrity of the process, we are unable to comment further or disclose exact timeframes, which are in any event changeable depending on outcomes. However, as soon as appropriate we will publish the decision on our website.”
Cyclingnews spoke to Team Sky, who responded with the same statement they issued in December 2013.
“Team Sky notes that Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has been charged with a violation of the UCI anti-doping rules. We have been informed that he intends to defend himself against that charge. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke will not ride for Team Sky or take part in any team activities – including training camps and all team duties – until a decision is made in this disciplinary hearing process.
“We understand that the violation was highlighted by an anomaly in his Biological Passport, in a reading taken before he signed for this team. There are no doubts about his approach or performance in Team Sky. This is a team that trains, races and wins clean. At this stage, we will add no further detail until this initial disciplinary process is concluded.”