The UCI has announced that it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Team Sky) due to irregularities in his biological passport, which its expert panel believes “has demonstrated an anti-doping rule violation.”
The Sunday Times reported in September that Tiernan-Locke had been asked by the UCI to provide an explanation for apparent fluctuations in his blood profiles believed to date from late 2012, when he was racing for Endura but had already agreed to join Team Sky for the 2013 season.
"The analysis of the biological passport of Mr Jonathan Tiernan-Locke by the Experts Panel has demonstrated an anti-doping rule violation (use of prohibited substances and/or methods)," a UCI statement read on Tuesday.
"Consequently and in compliance with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI has requested his National Federation to initiate disciplinary proceedings."
Tiernan Locke is from the UK and so British Cycling will be responsibile for his case.
News of Tiernan-Locke's possible passport violation was first reported by David Walsh of The Sunday Times on the morning of the world championships road in Florence in September. The UCI requested an explanation from Tiernan-Locke for his blood values so that its expert panel could decide whether or not to formally open a passport violation case against him.
Tiernan-Locke was a late arrival in the upper echelons of the sport after suffering with Epstein-Barr virus after an impressive Under 23 career. He joined Team Sky this season, at the age of 28, after enjoying a stunning run of success during 2012 with Endura, when he won the Tour of the Mediterranean, the Tour du Haut-Var and Tour of Britain, and then led the British team at the world championships in Valkenburg.
According to the Sunday Times, Tiernan-Locke’s irregular blood values dated back to his Tour of Britain victory in September 2012, when he was racing for Endura but had already agreed to join Team Sky for 2013.
As a Continental team, Endura were not part of the biological passport system, but Walsh reported that Tiernan-Locke was monitored following his victory at the Tour of Britain. Those blood values were then rendered suspect in comparison with baseline values established during his 2013 season on the biological passport system at Team Sky.
However, as is convention in biological passport cases, the UCI itself has not publicly divulged when Tiernan-Locke’s irregular blood values were recorded.
Tiernan Locke did not respond to calls from Cyclingnews.
In a statement released immediately after the UCI announcement confirming the biological passport violation, Tiernan-Locke's agent Andrew McQuaid said that his client would contest the charges that had been brought against him.
"Mr Tiernan-Locke vehemently denies the charges brought against him and has informed the UCI that he fully intends to contest them. Mr Tiernan-Locke will not ride for Team Sky, attend training camps or undertake any team duties until a decision is made in these proceedings. Mr Tiernan-Locke is looking forward to a speedy and just resolution of these unfortunate charges. Until a decision has been reached, Mr Tiernan-Locke will make no further comment on the matter."