Endura Racing has confirmed that its star rider of 2012, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, will not ride for the team next year. The climber has been courted by a number of teams since a spring campaign that reaped wins in Tour Méditerranéen and Haut Var, with Sky and Garmin leading the charge to sign him.
Tiernan-Locke trained with Sky this spring and while he will compete for Endura at next month’s Tour of Britain, it looks as though Sky will be his likely destination for 2013.
“I’ve not talked to John for a while but Sky, Garmin, other teams were interested but I’ve not received confirmation that he’s signed anything yet,” Endura’s Brian Smith told Cyclingnews.
“He will not be with Endura for next year though. He’ll be with a WorldTour team. What I know for a fact is that he has signed a letter of intent of signing with Team Sky.”
Team Sky has a strict policy on discussing riders under contract with other teams and refrained to comment on Tiernan-Locke when approached by Cyclingnews, but it’s understood that although Tiernan-Locke will leave Endura, the remnants of the team will form part of two merging squads in the ProContinental ranks.
Endura had hoped to gain ProContinental status for next year but having failed to secure the required sponsorship funds, looks set to merge with an existing ProContinental team. Although confirmation of the team was not given to Cyclingnews, it is understood that the secondary team took part in its first Grand Tour earlier this spring.
Endura’s director Jim McFarlane confirmed that negotiations between his team and the prospective merger partners were advancing positively, although a signed contract had not been reached yet.
“It’s quite possible but nothing is confirmed or finalised. You can expect to see something confirmed one way or another by the end of next week. I can’t say which team as there’s a confidentiality context as well. I can confirm that there are serious conversations that are well developed in that area.”
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