Jonathan Tiernan-Locke’s former team, Endura Racing, have issued a statement in which they claim that their former rider was physiologically tested by Team Sky during the same period in which the UCI are seeking clarification of the blood values recorded in the rider’s biological passport.
Tiernan-Locke signed for Dave Brailsford’s team on the back of a string of wins in early 2012. He won the Tour of Britain later in the season before linking up with the British national team, and Brailsford, for the world championships. He was Great Britain’s top finisher in the race.
Sky had been trailing Tiernan-Locke since the spring, a matter his old team boss Brian Smith confirmed to Cyclingnews on Sunday. Brailsford and Garmin’s Jonathan Vaughters both approached Smith with a view to signing Tiernan-Locke but Team Sky won out, with the Devon-born rider plumping for Sky.
According to Smith, Garmin had tested the rider in the spring though and he added that no abnormalities showed up. It is not clear whether Garmin offered the rider a contract but Smith told Cyclingnews that, “In early April we were contacted by Garmin and I spoke to Jonathan Vaughters about it. We were also approached by Brailsford and he asked my thoughts at that time. I said John was the real deal and that we didn’t see there being any problems.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Endura Racing claimed that, “JTL joined Endura Racing in January 2012 and, when it became clear he had WordTour potential, was made available to Team Garmin-Sharp in April for physiological tests. No adverse results were reported back."
Tiernan-Locke’s former team go on to state that he attended a Sky training camp in May and that, “Team Sky had full access to JTL from the point it was agreed for him to train with them at this camp. This includes the period covering the last quarter of 2012. According to JTL, he undertook physiological tests for Team Sky directly after the World Championships in 2012 and although Endura never received any data from these tests, neither was anything raised by Team Sky as unusual or concerning.”
This is somewhat at odds with Sky’s statement, which they issued hours after news broke in the Sunday Times that Tiernan-Locke had been contacted by the UCI. The British team appeared to keep the news at arm's length, stressing that any data the UCI had deemed questionable related to Tiernan-Locke’s time at Endura. Sky would not comment when contacted by Cyclingnews.
“A process, that ought to have remained confidential, is underway and we obviously hope that JTL is able to provide information that is acceptable to the UCI for their enquiry in order for him to clear his name.”
Endura Racing’s statement went on, addressing the same points that Smith had made clear to Cyclingnews on Sunday: that he and the team had tried to set Tiernan-Locke up with a UCI biological passport during the 2012 season.
“We are currently preparing the answers to the questions raised by the UCI, and we are extremely confident once we present our answers the matter will be closed. As this should be a confidential process we are not prepared to comment any further at this time,” McQuaid told Cyclingnews.