The cycling career of Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is in tatters after the rider was sacked by Team Sky and handed a doping ban of two years. The suspension of Tiernan-Locke is due to abnormalities in his biological passport. The ban dates back to 2012 and is due to end on December 31, 2015.
Tiernan-Locke has also been stripped of his 2012 Tour of Britain title and his 19th place in the 2012 UCI Road World Championships. The decision of Team Sky to sack him is with immediate effect. This announcement was made after the world governing body of cycling, the UCI, updated its anti-doping violations list.
The cyclist has not raced for Team Sky since September 2013, and has been excluded from team activities – races, training camps, public appearances – since the world governing body of cycling first announced the suspected violation on December 16, 2013.
In a statement, Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford said Jonathan’s contract has been terminated on July 17, 2014 and added whilst there have been no doubts about his time with us, his doping violation – from readings taken before he joined this team – means there is no place for him in Team Sky. Brailsford added we have a well-known stance on anti-doping and our action is the inevitable outcome of a violation.
The rider has fought the allegations with UK anti-doping and claimed the abnormal biological passport values were the cause of natural reasons and not the use of prohibited substances. The issues over the values in question date back to Tiernan-Locke's time with the Endura team. In May, the 29-year-old rider declared his innocence shortly after an appeal against the UCI charge was delayed. Tiernan-Locke’s long-time mentor Colin Lewis described the ban as a loss to the sport. Lewis, a two-time British National Road Race Champion, said Tiernan-Locke had been ‘optimistic’ about the outcome of his appeal. The 71-year-old Lewis said he had known Jon for seven years and he had never known a guy in his career who had less of a trace of doping. Lewis added he remembers that he had to go and have a vitamin injection, but he didn’t want to do it because he was scared of needles. He also remarked he had got his race winner’s jersey from the Tour of Britain, and after every stage he was drug tested, as he was for many races that season, and Jon was totally up front with it all.
A mountain biker up until the age of 18, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke overcame broken bones, debilitating illness, and team bankruptcy to rise to the top of the sport. The rider managed to secure a professional contract in France only 18-months into his road racing when he joined CC Étupes. Tiernan-Locke won his first 10 races and was selected for the British under-23’s team for the world road races in Italy in 2005. In the 2012 season, Tiernan-Locke raced for Endura Racing and claimed overall wins in the Tour Mediterraneen, Tour du Haut Var, and Tour Alsace. In September 2012, Tiernan-Locke became the first British rider since 1993 to win the Tour of Britain.