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Sacked by Sky: “This is a team that trains, races and wins clean” - Sir Dave Brailsford

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke who signed for Team Sky after winning the 2012 Tour of Britian, has been banned from the sport until the 31st of December 2015 by the UCI for irregularities in his biological passport.

The UCI made no announcement of the sanctions taken against Tiernan-Locke as the organisation continue to follow the protocal they announced earlier this week of merely adding names to the list of banned riders on the UCI website, although they later followed that up with a statement.

Tiernan-Locke's name was added to that list earlier today at some point - we presume - and Team Sky released a statement not long after confirming Tiernan-Locke's immediate sacking. 

Sir Dave Brailsford, Team Principal of Team Sky, said: “Jonathan’s contract has been terminated today.
“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.

“This is a team that trains, races and wins clean.”

Tiernan-Locke's name on the Team Sky bus at the Yorkshire Grand Depart

In their statement, Sky clarify that Tiernan-Locke’s anomoulous biological passport readings were taken in September 2012, both before he signed a two-year contract with the British team and three months before his first race in their colours.

The statement then goes on to distance the team from any wrong doing, saying that both "quantitative and qualitative" factors were properly considered, as the rider had no biological passport at that time for them to refer to.

Finally, the team affirm that they took appropriate action as soon as they were made aware of the situation. The statement can be read in full below.

"The anomalous readings in Tiernan-Locke’s Biological Passport were taken in September 2012, shortly before he signed his two-year contract with Team Sky and three months before his first race with the team.

"Prior to his signing, a number of factors – quantitative and qualitative – were properly considered. However, he had no Biological Passport to review until the spring of 2013, once the anti-doping authorities had collected the required number of readings.

"Team Sky was first aware of an issue in September 2013. Senior management immediately looked into the case and also reviewed recruitment processes. These will continue to be assessed, on an ongoing basis, with the support of the team’s Compliance Officer, appointed in the autumn.

"Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has not raced for the team since September 2013 and has not taken part in any team activities - including races, training camps and public appearances - since he was formally notified of a UCI anti-doping violation on 16 December 2013."

Subsequently, world cycling's governing body, the UCI, released a statement which read:

"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."

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

52 comments

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dp24 [201 posts] 2 years ago
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I doubt we've heard the last of this one. He's got nothing to lose by appealing it.

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truffy [653 posts] 2 years ago
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If I read that tour bus correctly, Swifty, Wiggo and Tiernan Locke are British, while Stannard is English. Correct?

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dp24 [201 posts] 2 years ago
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truffy wrote:

If I read that tour bus correctly, Swifty, Wiggo and Tiernan Locke are British, while Stannard is English. Correct?

Whilst Rowe is Welsh...

I presume they let the rider choose - if I remember rightly Nieve has the Basque flag by his name on there, whereas Lopez and Zandio have the Spanish flag.

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ajmarshal1 [411 posts] 2 years ago
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truffy wrote:

If I read that tour bus correctly, Swifty, Wiggo and Tiernan Locke are British, while Stannard is English. Correct?

This was mentioned in the 'Buses of the Tour' article. The riders choose their flags.

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peghook [14 posts] 2 years ago
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Yeah, looks like the riders chose what goes on, as Luke Rowe has the Welsh flag and not the Union Jack. Plus, Wiggins is Wiggo with the O being mod-ified

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WolfieSmith [1323 posts] 2 years ago
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Absolutely. Let's deal with the real story here - flags... Zzzzzz

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Leviathan [1986 posts] 2 years ago
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MercuryOne wrote:

Absolutely. Let's deal with the real story here - flags... Zzzzzz

Why not? Seems not too many people are surprised about JTL. His performances in 2013 blew no one away and got the questions started, no one was surprised.

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 2 years ago
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I think that is a slight twisting of events to say his performances got him popped. The reality is that the process for him proceeding from the lower ranks to Pro-peloton saw him 'discovered'.

Can anyone remind me about the spat between his Endura team and Sky? I seem to remember that Endura blamed Sky and vice versa, Sky trying to get JTL tested for the blood passport before he needed to. And then he spent a long time training with them before finally making the contractual move. The finer points being that Endura found the period with Sky to be at fault and when his bloods got tested. Either way it doesn't show Sky in a great light because it appears that they were trying to circumvent the process to get JTL through the blood passport process without him showing anomalies.....

I stand to be corrected. By the way I don't think Sky are doing anything different to anyone else, so this isn't a 'Sky thing', just a malaise of professional sport (it's not just about cycling you know).

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daveygftm [10 posts] 2 years ago
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Jesus .was'nt he good before he signed for Sky .TOB , he flew up those hills ,Maybee that's a tell tall signs .ahem LA .LOL !!!!!!  21

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Simon E [2725 posts] 2 years ago
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Very, very disappointing news.

As far as I'm concerned the best thing he can do is admit it then go and get himself a proper job.

I wonder what is being said by and about other members of the Endura team of 2012... tainted by association or is there more to it? What a mess.  2

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giobox [356 posts] 2 years ago
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He was still doping while riding for British Cycling then, which of course back then was run by Brailsford too.

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 2 years ago
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Very quiet from some people. Obviously Sky can do no wrong....

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TheSpaniard [98 posts] 2 years ago
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It sounds like Sky are hanging him out to dry in the same way as teams have done to countless riders ever since Festina. The fact that nothing has changed in that respect makes me wonder what else hasn't changed either.

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stealth [254 posts] 2 years ago
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How can he get busted for biological passport irregularities from a period of time during which he didn't have one. Or have I just completely mis-read that, twice.....?

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Paul J [884 posts] 2 years ago
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The bio-passport presumably caught blood-doping, but there were alarm bells ringing much earlier in JTL's career. E.g. his immune system problems and being floored for a year by otherwise fairly harmless viruses.

See my comments on:

http://road.cc/content/news/73756-jonathan-tiernan-locke-video-interview...

I was accused of mud-slinging then...

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giobox [356 posts] 2 years ago
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Paul J wrote:

The bio-passport presumably caught blood-doping, but there were alarm bells ringing much earlier in JTL's career. E.g. his immune system problems and being floored for a year by otherwise fairly harmless viruses.

See my comments on:

http://road.cc/content/news/73756-jonathan-tiernan-locke-video-interview...

I was accused of mud-slinging then...

Reading the comments now I would accuse you of having too much free time!  3

Sometimes it's just not worth the bother talking about Sky.

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Paul J [884 posts] 2 years ago
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Possibly did then...  3 This isn't about Sky really. This is about JTL. It was Skys' own internal testing that caught JTL, if I remember right.

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IHphoto [116 posts] 2 years ago
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Are the Tour of Britain going to strip JTL of his title now then after this?

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NeilG83 [299 posts] 2 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

Can anyone remind me about the spat between his Endura team and Sky? I seem to remember that Endura blamed Sky and vice versa, Sky trying to get JTL tested for the blood passport before he needed to. And then he spent a long time training with them before finally making the contractual move. The finer points being that Endura found the period with Sky to be at fault and when his bloods got tested. Either way it doesn't show Sky in a great light because it appears that they were trying to circumvent the process to get JTL through the blood passport process without him showing anomalies.....

I stand to be corrected. By the way I don't think Sky are doing anything different to anyone else, so this isn't a 'Sky thing', just a malaise of professional sport (it's not just about cycling you know).

After JTL won the Tour of the Med & Tour du Haut Var in early 2012, questions were asked about his performances, so Endura offered to pay for him to be included in the bio-passport programme, but the UCI refused.

The blood tests used in the case must have come from in-competition tests at the Tour of Britain, which were probably then compared to those from when he joined the bio-passport after signing for Sky.

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
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Bye Bye Cheat...  103

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Beaufort [270 posts] 2 years ago
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We await a response from Mr. Tiernan-Locke. I expect him to deny it all.

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pwake [376 posts] 2 years ago
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It's a wonder these blokes can ride at all with all the blood they're giving up. I donated blood the day before a midweek 10 once and rode two minutes slower than usual!

That was a pint though and "that's very nearly an armful!".

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Critchio [176 posts] 2 years ago
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"In September 2012, he became the first British rider since 1993 to win the Tour of Britain." ....

.... By CHEATING.

Utterly disgraceful. He won nothing. He achieved nothing because what he did was cheat his way through the sport. He should disappear from the sport and never be heard of again. Just like all the other cheaters out there, past and present.

The governing bodies have to be ruthless and excise this cancer that is cheating with surgical precision.

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andycoventry [110 posts] 2 years ago
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Marginally off topic....

If someone dopes up to the eyeballs, taking every drug under the sun then stops in enough time to pass testing, surely they are stronger and fitter from that point forward than if they had never cheated. Or is that too simplistic?.

If that is true, shouldn't cheats be banned for life.

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 2 years ago
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Massive shame. I wonder if this could make stepping up to the top level that bit harder i.e. Highlight a risk of acquiring riders from an untested pool?

As for Sky, they'll be pissed but I'm unsure what else they could have done. I don't think I've got to grips with the timeline yet (if he was untested before, when was a baseline established? How do you tell if the baseline is clean?) but given the risk stated above, I think sky's thinking was to get him into the testing pool ASAP in order to mitigate that risk. Or have I got this all wrong?

Given his age, I guess that's it for him now. Time to get a job.

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Must be Mad [514 posts] 2 years ago
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From what I understand - the issue is the difference in Blood values taken when he won the Tour of Britain (under his previous team) and when he joined the 'blood passport' scheme after joining Sky.
As far as I can work out, neither test (on their own) showed a doping issue - but the two tests together showed a suspicious change to the blood.
It was up to JTL to provide a valid reason for the change - but it would seem that he has not been able to do so....

Its a strange case - JTL seemed quite confidant about his defense not so long ago, so it will be interesting to see if he pops up and gives us his side of the story.

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domofarmfrites [20 posts] 2 years ago
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Shame all round. Tiernan-Locke was an exciting rider and it seems now we know how he managed to be so. I think Sky have generally acted well in this case, although not knowing all the facts at every stage of the process it is hard to be sure exactly where the blame is (apart from the rider of course).

In any case does this explain TJ's relative lack of form while in the Sky camp? If he was doping before he joined the team, perhaps under greater scrutiny he just could not be at the same level?

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Jimmy Ray Will [470 posts] 2 years ago
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Must be Mad wrote:

From what I understand - the issue is the difference in Blood values taken when he won the Tour of Britain (under his previous team) and when he joined the 'blood passport' scheme after joining Sky.
As far as I can work out, neither test (on their own) showed a doping issue - but the two tests together showed a suspicious change to the blood.
It was up to JTL to provide a valid reason for the change - but it would seem that he has not been able to do so....

Its a strange case - JTL seemed quite confidant about his defense not so long ago, so it will be interesting to see if he pops up and gives us his side of the story.

This to me is a great summary of the situation. His blood values showed a difference that is consistent to those observed following blood doping.

JTL was asked to prove that he had not been having transfusions... he was unable to put forward an argument that was convincing enough and has been sanctioned.

To me this isn't necessarily proof of doping... its a smoking gun.

I would think it would be all but impossible for someone in JTL's shoes to prove his innocence.

Just like in reality, it is impossible for the Sky boffins to go out and prove that Henoa wasn't blood doping in Columbia. They could merely replicate the same response in a supposedly controlled environment. That's all JTL could realistically do, but how was he going to do that without the backing of SKY?

Anyway, my point is, rightly or wrongly (without clear evidence to the contrary, you have to say rightly) he has been sanctioned, but for me, I'm not ready to lynch the guy.

As for his performances in 2011/12, everyone who actually knows the guy, knows he had it in him all the time. I remember a senior professional talking about JTL in 2009, saying that the guy could go as far as he wanted, he was world class material.

I'm not sure how suffering glandular fever in 2004 made him a doper either... I'll read the thread.

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moser1984 [3 posts] 2 years ago
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Real shame, no more said.  2

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moser1984 [3 posts] 2 years ago
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Real shame, no more said.  2

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