Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has hit out once again at the biological passport, saying that he finds it "worrying" that the Roman Kreuziger case was allowed to go so far.
The UCI recently dropped their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over Kreuziger, whose ban for passport anomalies last year had been overturned by the Czech cycling federation. The news came just days before the scheduled hearing and the UCI would go no further than saying it was due to newly-obtained information.
Tiernan-Locke is himself currently serving a ban relating to abnormal passport values dating back to 2012 when he rode for Endura Racing and before he joined Team Sky, and they subsequently got rid of him.
"I’m really happy for Kreuziger that he has finally been cleared," he told the Western Morning News, "but it’s so worrying that it got that far.
"I can only imagine the expense he must have incurred – and he must have been almost out the door on his way to Switzerland [where CAS is based] when the UCI decision came. It was so last-minute.
"His reputation has taken a massive hit, just like mine has, and also that of his team."
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 in an interview with Cyclingnews in October last year.
Shortly after that interview, UCI President Brian Cookson, speaking to Cyclingnews, hit back at Tiernan-Locke, describing his comments as "foolish" and "way out of line".
"To hear Jonathan say things like the UKAD anti-doping hearing was a mickey mouse court, I think that’s very foolish and not a wise thing to have said. I’m giving him a message that’s quite clear, he’s putting himself in a deeper and deeper hole," Cookson said of the rider who plans to return to competition in 2016.
However, it seems Tiernan-Locke has not heeded that advice as he once again attacked the biological passport process and insisted his situation would be different if he had the means to resort to CAS.
"As far as taking my own case further, the small window of opportunity to go to CAS has long since passed, even if I could have afforded it," he said.
"However, should the chance arise in the future where I could be heard at a proper court, I would grab it with both hands, as I’m confident the 'passport' would not stand up to the same scrutiny applied to forensics there.
"I’ve never wanted to hurt the sport of cycling – I hope to race again next year. But as I found out, the process is so weighted against the athlete. For the UCI, the passport has to seem infallible, so they need to win cases at almost any cost. And it’s wrong that, on the back of that, they have the power of God, it seems."
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