Tiernan-Locke set for February racing return after doping ban

31-year-old wants to enjoy racing again and take it from there

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, whose two-year anti-doping ban expired with the turn of the year, is planning to make a return to racing in February at the Primavera road race in the South West of England, according to the Torquay Herald Express newspaper.

The 31-year-old was banned for two years at the end of 2013 after anomalies were detected in his biological passport from 2012, before he made the move from Endura Racing to Team Sky.

The Primavera, on February 28, is 53-miles long and is organised by Tiernan-Locke's former club, the Mid-Devon Cycling Club. The British rider does not have a team for 2016 but told Cyclingnews in October of his plans to compete as an independent rider, combining his racing with a new start-up business. 

"I know it will feel like turning the clock back, but I plan to do some races in the South-West to start with," Tiernan-Locke told the Torquay Herald Express.

"I am looking forward to bumping into people I haven't seen since I last rode at this level six or seven years ago. I want to enjoy racing again, first and foremost, see what sort of form I'm in and then take it from there."

Tiernan-Locke has always maintained his innocence, basing his values from shortly after his Tour of Britain win on a 33-unit alcohol binge, a reasoning that was rejected by UK Anti Doping (UKAD). He has since protested about the way he was treated, labelling his UKAD hearing as a “Mickey Mouse court” and questioning the worth of the biological passport. 

Over the winter he has been trying to stay fit and get some miles in the bank in anticipation of a return to competition, and has stated his desire to "pick up where I left off" and return to the form that saw him earn a contract with Sky.

"I've been training for the last few months and as I've got fitter and better the ambition is growing," he told Cyclingnews in October.

"If next year goes well, and me being back racing is normalised, if you like, maybe people will be more willing to sign me, then we'll see. I'm 30 – if I want there's definitely more years in me, there are not many miles on the clock anyway. If things go well then I'd like to pick up where I left off but that remains to be seen."

 

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