Tiernan-Locke banned for two years

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky Procycling)

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky Procycling) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has been banned for two years over irregular biological passport values dating back to 2012. Team Sky has terminated the rider's contract with immediate effect.

Team Sky today terminated Tiernan-Locke's contract with immediate effect. “Jonathan’s contract has been terminated today," team principal David Brailsford said in a press release.

“Whilst there have been no doubts about his time with us, his doping violation - from readings taken before he joined this team - means there’s no place for him in Team Sky.

“We’ve a well-known stance on anti-doping and our action is the inevitable outcome of a violation."

The news first broke after the UCI updated its anti-doping violations list today, adding the British rider's name without fanfare. The governing body later issued a brief press release confirming the ban.

"The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms receipt of the United Kingdom National Anti-Doping Panel’s decision on the Jonathan Tiernan-Locke case. A 2-year ban was imposed on the rider as a result of his anti-doping rule violation based on his Athlete Biological Passport. He is declared ineligible until December 31, 2015 and disqualified from the 2012 Tour of Britain and the 2012 UCI Road World Championships, competitions during which abnormalities were clearly identified. The UCI recognises the work of UKAD in providing the rider with a fair and independent hearing. At this stage, with the relevant appeal windows open, the UCI will not make any further comment on the case."

Tiernan-Locke loses his overall victory in the 2012 Tour of Britain and a 19th place in the 2012 UCI Road World Championships.

Tiernan-Locke fought the allegations with UK anti-doping, arguing that the values were due to natural reasons, rather than the use of prohibited substances. The values in question date back to his time with the Endura team, and his former manager Brian Smith previously defended the rider.

Tiernan-Locke joined Team Sky at the beginning of 2013, after a sterling year in the Continental ranks that saw him win the Tour du Haut Var, Tour Méditerranéen and the Tour of Britain.

He hardly raced after joining Sky, suffering from illness and completing only 39 racing days before being pulled from competition upon being notified of the irregular values in September, 2013.

The UCI opened anti-doping rule violation proceedings in December, 2013.

During the 2012 season, Tiernan-Locke was courted by both Team Sky and Garmin. While the Continental team Endura was not part of the biological passport programme, it is understood that the teams saw no irregularities.

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