The commitment to anti-doping of Team Sky came under the spotlight after the International Cycling Union confirmed that it has opened disciplinary proceedings against British professional road racing cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, who rides for UCI ProTeam Team Sky.
According to the world governing body of cycling, an anti-doping violation was demonstrated by discrepancies in the biological passport data of the 2012 Tour of Britain winner. The 28-year-old withdrew from the Great Britain team for the World Championships road race at the end of September citing poor form but it was later revealed his absenteeism was due to being pulled out over possible discrepancies in his biological passport.
Tiernan-Locke has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and is believed to cite his battle with chronic fatigue syndrome in his defense. A UCI statement revealed the analysis of the biological passport of Jonathan Tiernan-Locke by the experts panel has demonstrated an anti-doping rule violation (use of prohibited substances and/or methods) and the UCI has requested his national federation to initiate disciplinary proceedings consequently and in compliance with the UCI anti-doping rules. It was later confirmed by British Cycling that a request from the UCI had been received and that those proceedings will be managed independently of British Cycling by UK Anti- Doping.
The British professional road racing cyclist won four stage races during the 2012 UCI Europe Tour, including the Tour of Britain. The cyclist moved to Endura Racing for the 2012 season and won Tour Méditerranéen and the Tour du Haut Var and the Tour Alsace overall. Tiernan-Locke joined Team Sky on a two-year contract from the 2013 season onwards.
Tiernan-Locke is the first rider of Team Sky to face discipline for anti-doping rule infringements. Team Sky in a statement said Tiernan-Locke will not ride for Team Sky or take part in any team activities - including training camps and all team duties - until a decision is made in this disciplinary hearing process. It added that we understand that the violation was highlighted by an anomaly in his Biological Passport, in a reading taken before he signed for this team and there are no doubts about his approach or performance in Team Sky.
Trinity Sports Management, the management company of Tiernan-Locke, issued a statement after the UCI announcement that the rider's biological passport data was found to contain anomalies. It said Tiernan-Locke vehemently denies the charges brought against him and has informed the UCI that he fully intends to contest them. It added that the rider will not ride for Team Sky, attend training camps or undertake any team duties until a decision is made in these proceedings and added that Tiernan-Locke is looking forward to a speedy and just resolution of these unfortunate charges. UK Anti-Doping director of legal Graham Arthur remarked all violations of the World Anti-Doping Code are published on our website if confirmed, when sanctions have been agreed and all appeal windows are over and we are progressing on a case relating to a possible anti-doping rule violation. He added that the matter is subject to confidentiality restrictions imposed by the Anti-Doping Rules, and as such we are unable to comment further and this protects the rights of all involved.