British newspaper, The Telegraph, are reporting that Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky) has been granted an extension by the UCI in his bid to explain irregular blood values in the case brought against him.
News of the case against Tiernan-Locke broke on September 29 after a story by David Walsh in the Sunday Times went to press, but it is believed that Tiernan-Locke's withdrawal from the British team to race the road race at the World Championships in Florence is much closer to the actual date that the Briton learned of the case against him.
With his withdrawal coming on September 26, that makes Tuesday October 20 the last day in the standard 20-day deadline for Tiernan-Locke to provide his explanation, it is possible however, that the true deadline has already passed. Tiernan-Locke's manager, Andrew McQuaid, had previously stated that he was "extremely confident [that] once we present our answers the matter will be closed," and with the extension reportedly granted, Tiernan-Locke now has more time to put his case together.
Team Sky quickly sought to distance themselves from the saga once the confidential process was made public, insinuating that during the late 2012 period for which Tiernan-Locke is being questioned, he was answerable to his former Endura team only.
Given Team Sky's strict zero tolerance stance on doping, the apparent abrogation of responsibility in the Tiernan-Locke case is not unexpected. It has been drawn into question, nonetheless, after Tiernan-Locke's former manager at Endura, Brian Smith, contacted Cyclingnews stating he believed Team Sky were satisfied with Tiernan-Locke's physiological values from last season.
After interest in Tiernan-Locke arose in 2012, he underwent testing with Garmin and no adverse results were reported. Tiernan-Locke later ended up doing further testing and training with Team Sky, during the period in question, and Smith was adamant that no red flags arose.
"They've seen all the data. As far as I'm concerned Jonathan is the real deal. Sky, Garmin and Endura all thought there were no irregularities with Jonathan," explained Smith.
Both Smith and Endura also claim that they contacted the UCI in attempt to set up a biological passport for Tiernan-Locke in 2012.
"I contacted the UCI at that time to see if they would put John onto a passport scheme. That came back as a resounding no."
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