Team Sky confirms signing of Jonathan Tiernan-Locke

British cycling's worst-kept secret confirmed as Tour of Britain winner moves after sensational 2012

by Simon_MacMichael   October 4, 2012  

Jon Tiernan-Locke (picture Endura Racing)

One of cycling's worst kept secrets has been confirmed this morning with Team Sky announcing that it has signed Tour of Britain winner Jonathan Tiernan-Locke.

The 27-year-old from Devon, who spent several years out of the sport due to illness and pursuing his studies, has impressed throughout a 2012 season with Endura Racing that saw him claim a string of victories in stage races.

His success led to him being selected for Great Britain at the road world championships where as the country's main challenger in the race he rode strongly to claim a top 20 finish.

Besides the Tour of Britain, Tiernan-Locke won French early season races the the Tour de Mediterranean and Tour du Haut Var, and in the wake of those successes a number of top-flight teams were said to be interested in acquiring his services for the rest of the season.

Tiernan-Locke, however, remained loyal to Endura, committing himself to the Scotland-based team for the rest of 2012, and came back from a broken collarbone suffered at the Lincoln Grand Prix to win two stages and the overall at the Tour Alsace in July.

Commenting on his switch to Team Sky, he said: “It’s an incredible opportunity for me to step up from the UCI Continental ranks, and although I’ve really enjoyed my time at Endura, I couldn’t pass up the chance to join the world’s best team.

“When you look at the season Team Sky have had, to even be considered by them was a massive honour for me, so I’m over the moon to be riding for them in 2013.

“This season’s results have given me a lot of confidence and I can’t wait to compete at the very top of the sport.

"I’m under no illusions - it’s going to be a big step up - but with all the support I’ll receive from the coaching staff, and having such talented riders around me, I’ll definitely be looking to up my game.”

Sky's Team Principal, Dave Brailsford, added: "At Team Sky we are determined that the best British talent have the opportunities to compete at the highest level of our sport. We have monitored Jonathan’s progress closely and are delighted to offer him this contract.

"He has worked hard to get himself to where he is today and deserves his chance to compete against the very best cyclists in the world.

“Next season will be a great opportunity for him. We believe he is in the best place to achieve his full potential and are looking forward to having him on the team."
 

26 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Worse kept secret ala Cavendish. Will be great to see what he can do in the Spring classics.

Interesting to see how he fais in a GT, think the Vuelta would be a nice starting point, this years course would have been nice for him.

GL to him, really enjoy watching him race, but with moving to Sky he will turn into a wattage monkey. Complete robot.

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
4th October 2012 - 11:41

3 Likes

Cool stuff, look forward to seeing him next year.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3198 posts]
4th October 2012 - 12:29

2 Likes

"At Team Sky we are determined that the best British talent have the opportunities to compete at the highest level of our sport"

Yes, i believe Cav won domestic of the year Smile

Seriously though, JTL comes accross as a decent, hard working and all round - good egg. Learning the pro ropes at Sky could be a gateway to even greater results.

Does anyone know how long his contract is for?

posted by kitkat [206 posts]
4th October 2012 - 12:50

4 Likes

2 years

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
4th October 2012 - 13:05

4 Likes

LOL @Gkam.

Unless you were joking about sb-tb?

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1730 posts]
4th October 2012 - 13:08

1 Like

Raleigh wrote:
LOL @Gkam.

Unless you were joking about sb-tb?

No way was that a joke the way he was going on about it. Rolling On The Floor

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
4th October 2012 - 13:18

2 Likes

Bad move. He's not going to have a chance at anything. He needed a team that was a little weaker.

As for the sb-tb, He'd signed a letter of intent.....I guess a man's word means nothing these days.

As I said, BAD move for him. He's 27, how many years does he have left? Not going to get a chance with the current crop of Sky. So he's going to be a good quality DS and not a winner anymore Angry

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8859 posts]
4th October 2012 - 17:21

4 Likes

Don't know, depends on what his goals are. If its grand tours then I doubt he'll get his chance any time soon but if he fancies himself for the classics I think he may get a shot as Sky are not hugely strong there.

On the other hand, I can see a trio of British Grand Tour wins with Wiggins at the Giro, Froome at the Tour and Tiernan-Locke at the Vuelta being extremely appealing to Brailsford.

Either way Sky is as good a place for an apprenticeship as anywhere but I agree with Gkam in that JTL may have had more opportunities at a weaker team.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
4th October 2012 - 17:40

3 Likes

Sky would be my pick for an apprenticeship over ANY team. But JTL is 27, that's my problem with him going there.

He's no young up and comer, because he was ill and took take out of sport. He was a mountain biker until becoming ill in 2004. It was only 2008 when he came back to cycling and went on the road. Then in 2009 he got a good break signing with Rapha.

So in terms of road cycling he's still new, but no rookie or young gun anymore. I worry he'll be lost from the contender ranks to a good DS and having to slave away for others. Thinking

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8859 posts]
4th October 2012 - 17:57

7 Likes

Best of luck to him. Love the podcast with Ned Boulting recently when Boulting asked him whether he was doping. V funny. Sobering to find out he's lost 9kgs! If only I could lose 9kgs I might win something....

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1059 posts]
4th October 2012 - 18:21

1 Like

He never signed for SBTB man, I don't know where you get this idea from. Unless you have insider information? It was reported JTL had signed a letter of intent with a ProTour team.

It was assumed from the start it was Sky and that makes sense given his time training with them, but then rumours on some websites said it was AG2R.

The article also says he is 27. He is actually 28, 29 in December, I hope Sky know this.

I dont know why the Sky fan boys think JTL is a GT contender at all. The longest race distance he has done was the WC RR last month. I think at most he is going to be a good domestique.

He did have a break from cycling after he got a virus, so for his age compared to some, he wont be burnt out at the same age, however, its still 29 in December.

Good Classics racer and Good domestique IMO.

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
4th October 2012 - 19:12

3 Likes

I see what you're saying Gkam, but as you know Sky and the national squad are on the identical side of similar, and they at least gave him a decent go at the worlds. I think DB probably has some decent goals for him - hell, any pro tour race is going to be a big step up from continental, being a big fish in the smaller pond doesn't mean he will be equally big in the bigger pond anyway.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3198 posts]
4th October 2012 - 19:27

4 Likes

Darthshearer wrote:
He never signed for SBTB man

No he didn't sign with anyone until Sky. But he did sign a letter of intent that was reported to be with sb-tb. I'll dig out the link again.

Darthshearer wrote:
I dont know why the Sky fan boys think JTL is a GT contender at all. The longest race distance he has done was the WC RR last month. I think at most he is going to be a good domestique.

I think the fact that he's won things like Tour du Haut Var and Tour Mediterraneen this year, to go along with his Tour of Britain would indicate that he's a very good rider and could go on to be a GT contender. Just look at past winners of du Haut and Med. Some good names there. Also this with a lower class team....

Darthshearer wrote:
He did have a break from cycling after he got a virus, so for his age compared to some, he wont be burnt out at the same age, however, its still 29 in December.

Don't forget, He was not a road rider until 2008 with a team that folded and became a proper roadie in 2009. So he's only three years into it.

His age is against him. But if he's not given a chance, how is he supposed to show what he can do?

That chance won't come at Sky.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8859 posts]
4th October 2012 - 19:35

2 Likes

Darthshearer wrote:
The article also says he is 27. He is actually 28, 29 in December, I hope Sky know this.

DOB 26/12/1984, according to Endura Racing and his UCI Code (GBR19841226).

UCI Europe Tour ranking gives his age as 28, but that seems to be done according to the age the rider reaches in the calendar year in question.

So he's still 27 for the next two and a bit months.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8111 posts]
4th October 2012 - 19:46

2 Likes

he will be 28 on boxing day

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [224 posts]
4th October 2012 - 19:54

2 Likes

Yup, I'm 84 and turned 28 this year.....

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8859 posts]
4th October 2012 - 20:11

4 Likes

Apologies, I read 1983 Worried

I like JTL, I really do and wish him luck. I hope Sky dont change the way he rides too much.

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
4th October 2012 - 20:22

3 Likes

Darthshearer wrote:
I hope Sky dont change the way he rides too much.

And there in lies the problem. JTL has been riding as a team leader. He won't be that at Sky. If he's in a grand tour team. He'll be perfect for breakaway wins. But he'll be held back to nurse Wiggo up the slopes with help from Cataldo Thinking

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8859 posts]
4th October 2012 - 20:32

2 Likes

Has anyone else here read about JTLs funny illness problems, and read the Greg Strock interview at Velonews and then gone "hmmm..."?

posted by Paul J [623 posts]
5th October 2012 - 0:17

0 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
Darthshearer wrote:
I hope Sky dont change the way he rides too much.

And there in lies the problem. JTL has been riding as a team leader. He won't be that at Sky. If he's in a grand tour team. He'll be perfect for breakaway wins. But he'll be held back to nurse Wiggo up the slopes with help from Cataldo Thinking

Aye, but hopefully he wont be a wattage monkey too much. He should be team leader for races like Fleche Wallonne etc, so that will be good for him.

He is used to riding without Race Radio, racing on instinct without too much thought on Wattage output and how far a breakway is becuase the radio has said, what wattage they are outputting, what wattage you're outputting and how long to catch them etc.

You cannot bemoan JTL for jumping at the chance of stepping up to a team like Sky.

Paul J wrote:
Has anyone else here read about JTLs funny illness problems, and read the Greg Strock interview at Velonews and then gone "hmmm..."?

Whats this Paul? Got a link? Its not another Froome problem is it? Blood infection, then no training and suddenly he is a top GC rider?

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
5th October 2012 - 9:09

3 Likes

Interesting that, will read that interview.

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
5th October 2012 - 11:29

3 Likes

Darthshearer: Not another problem, but JTLs' old problem with mystery illnesses. This is how JTL described it to cyclingnews:

“Then one day I started coming down with a cold. That turned into flu and then it became the worst strain of flu I’d ever had. It just got worse. Then my immune system broke down I had a skin disease. I was literally falling apart.”

He'd also been knocked down by Epstein-Barr virus - a very common virus the vast majority of us carry, which usually doesn't bother us, unless somehow our immune system is badly compromised.

Something similar happened to Greg Strock, a US cyclist. He also got knocked out by a range of illnesses, including a very common, usually not very harmful virus, to a degree which a fit, young man just shouldn't suffer. He did an interview with velonews which is worth reading. To quote the bit that I thought back to after reading about JTLs' strange problems (added emphasis mine):

“Any physician who hears about my diagnosis would first say that it is quite rare to see such a symptomatic case of Parvovirus in an ordinarily healthy young Caucasian male. It’s almost unheard of to see the kind of symptoms that I suffered. In that population, it’s usually it’s a viral infection that is no big deal. This is consistent with an immunosupressed state.

I also suffered from thrush (an oral yeast infection), most often seen in those who are immunocompromised, and a very severe case of Bell’s palsy. Bell’s palsy is a facial paralysis that is not uncommon and is thought to be caused by a viral infection. 90 percent of those with it have full recovery; I didn’t. So you can see some common things affected me in uncommon ways, which is typical of an immunocompromised state such as induced by cortisone.”

Greg's coach had been regularly doping him, unbeknownst to him. He left cycling and studied medicine instead, it seems. Which is how he started to realise what had happened to him.

Just interesting to keep in mind when you hear of athletes suffering from weird illnesses and/or being knocked down by otherwise innocuous viruses. (And to bear in mind when anyone tries to tell you corticosteroids are harmless).

posted by Paul J [623 posts]
5th October 2012 - 12:52

5 Likes

Darthshearer wrote:

Aye, but hopefully he wont be a wattage monkey too much. He should be team leader for races like Fleche Wallonne etc, so that will be good for him.

Will he really though? In terms of punchy uphill finishers Henao was 14th in Fleche Wallonne this year and 29th in Liege and is getting better all the time - and they also have Uran and Boasson Hagen.

posted by msw [126 posts]
5th October 2012 - 13:40

2 Likes

.... as i keep on telling er'indoors and the brats
it's not the age its the ruddy mileage ! Big Grin
but seriously he's a class rider - he'll do very well.

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [125 posts]
5th October 2012 - 17:58

3 Likes

Revolving doors at SKY - Cav out JTL in. Reaffirms their GC prentensions packing the squad with climbers which they will need because Contador, fuelled or not, alone or not, is a big threat to them in 2013.

Contador was probably not even close to his full potential in the Vuelta.

posted by RTB [48 posts]
5th October 2012 - 18:46

1 Like

I am as delighted he got the gig as I am disappointed Cav has left - good luck JTL

Alg

posted by alg [129 posts]
8th October 2012 - 13:56

2 Likes