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Scottish firm that sponsored Endura Racing issues statement regarding rider now with Team Sky

Endura, the Scotland-based cycling clothing firm, says that it offered to pay to have former Endura Racing rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke on the UCI’s biological passport programme last year when it became clear he was heading to a WorldTour team, but world cycling’s governing body rejected its request. The rider, now with Team Sky, has been asked by the UCI to explain irregularities in his blood values.

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford and Tiernan-Locke’s former manager at Endura Racing, Brian Smith, have both cautioned that the cyclist has a right to provide an explanation and should not be prejudged.

They emphasised that shifts in blood values could be explained by factors other than doping. In its statement today, in which it refers to the rider as 'JTL,' Endura highlighted that poor health or being fatigued could be among those factors.

It said: “At this early stage, without detailed information, it would be inappropriate to speculate on the reasons for inconsistencies in JTL’s biological passport data although it is known that there are many possible legitimate causes including fatigue and ill-health both of which we understand JTL has suffered from in the last year.

“A process, that ought to have remained confidential, is underway and we obviously hope that JTL is able to provide information that is acceptable to the UCI for their enquiry in order for him to clear his name.”

The period in question comprises the final four months of 2012, when Tiernan-Locke was still riding for Endura Racing, although in its statement released today Endura, which held the UCI Continental team’s licence, says that he had already been tested by Garmin-Sharp as well as attending a training camp with Team Sky by that point.

Endura’s statement underlines that the Endura Racing “team owners and management have always been explicit and vociferous in condemnation of their use and although limited in its resources as a UCI Continental licensed team, Endura Racing previously made attempts to arrange for additional spontaneous testing for its riders through UKAD.

“Unfortunately this request was rejected however Endura Racing’s willingness to fund additional testing to expose its riders to a more prolific test regime than the mandatory requirements is clear evidence of Endura’s position on the matter.”

It adds that “Endura, with the full support of JTL, also made a request to the UCI to be allowed to pay to have him put on a biological passport in order to counter the rumours of PEDs that circulated after his wins in Tour Méditerranéen and Tour du Haut Var in early season racing during 2012 however this request was refused by the UCI.”

The 28-year-old rider from Devon joined Team Sky at the end of the 2012 season, but has failed to replicate the form that brought him to the attention of WorldTour teams at the start of the year with those two early-season victories in France.

After recovering from a collarbone fracture sustained at the Lincoln Grand Prix in May, he went on to win the overall at the Tour of Britain in September 2012. A year earlier, riding for Rapha Condor Sharp, he had won the mountains competition in the national tour.

The Sunday Times, which first reported the story at the weekend, has said that while the late 2012 values were not in themselves deemed irregular, they are once compared to those from samples taken since he joined Team Sky.

It is also believed that the rider, who spent three years out of the sport in his early twenties as he battled against a virus and glandular fever, has had problems stepping up to the demands of Team Sky’s training regime.

Here is the full statement from Endura issued this morning:

Livingston, Scotland, October 1st 2013 – In response to The Sunday Times article published on Sunday 29th September, Endura Ltd, owners of Endura Racing Professional Cycle Team during 2012 when Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (JTL) was riding for the Team, make the following statement:

At this early stage, without detailed information, it would be inappropriate to speculate on the reasons for inconsistencies in JTL’s biological passport data although it is known that there are many possible legitimate causes including fatigue and ill-health both of which we understand JTL has suffered from in the last year.

A process, that ought to have remained confidential, is underway and we obviously hope that JTL is able to provide information that is acceptable to the UCI for their enquiry in order for him to clear his name.

As regards Endura Racing’s team culture relating to PEDs, the team owners and management have always been explicit and vociferous in condemnation of their use and although limited in its resources as a UCI Continental licensed team, Endura Racing previously made attempts to arrange for additional spontaneous testing for its riders through UKAD. Unfortunately this request was rejected however Endura Racing’s willingness to fund additional testing to expose its riders to a more prolific test regime than the mandatory requirements is clear evidence of Endura’s position on the matter.

Endura, with the full support of JTL, also made a request to the UCI to be allowed to pay to have him put on a biological passport in order to counter the rumours of PEDs that circulated after his wins in Tour Méditerranéen and Tour du Haut Var in early season racing during 2012 however this request was refused by the UCI.

Endura Racing’s culture has always been entirely at odds with cheating in any form including the use of PEDs and nothing in JTL’s conduct during his 2012 season with the Team gave rise to concerns that his approach was at odds with this in any way.

JTL joined Endura Racing in January 2012 and, when it became clear he had WordTour potential, was made available to Team Garmin-Sharp in April for physiological tests. No adverse results were reported back.

He then accompanied Team Sky on their Tenerife training camp in May. Team Sky had full access to JTL from the point it was agreed for him to train with them at this camp. This includes the period covering the last quarter of 2012. According to JTL, he undertook physiological tests for Team Sky directly after the World Championships in 2012 and although Endura never received any data from these tests, neither was anything raised by Team Sky as unusual or concerning.

JTL chose Endura Racing in 2012 in the full knowledge that the Team was committed to ensuring that its riders were all clean and that it had made efforts to provide additional scrutiny of its riders through UKAD.  In April 2012, when presented with expressions of interest for many WorldTour teams, JTL chose to narrow his options to Team Garmin-Sharp and Team Sky, both of which have well documented zero tolerance positions on doping.

Endura will make no further comments on the matter until the process is complete.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

17 comments

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jason.timothy.jones [293 posts] 2 years ago
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I do feel sorry for JTL, this should all have been kept confidential until the results were clear, unfortunately mud sticks, guilty or not people will be questioning JTL for a long time to come, and thats just not fair at all.

If we look at the UCI over the past year, and there behaviour, even recently with Chris Horner (not hard to check emails UCI) just makes me think this was a deliberate leak to take the focus away from them. It just kinda makes me a little angry  14

Personally I like JTL and think he has a good future, he just needs to get some focus back.

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 2 years ago
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So, perhaps some underlying finger pointing starting but tbh the most important thing is this:

"A process, that ought to have remained confidential, is underway"

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SevenHills [184 posts] 2 years ago
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Anyone else feel that this is Pat's parting gift? Ensure that the new UCI President has to deal with doping speculation involving a rider from his own country.

Surely i am being too cynical aren't i?  3

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Colin Peyresourde [1636 posts] 2 years ago
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SevenHills wrote:

Anyone else feel that this is Pat's parting gift? Ensure that the new UCI President has to deal with doping speculation involving a rider from his own country.

Surely i am being too cynical aren't i?  3

Regardless of guilt. Yes, I agree. The timing was perfect.

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Colin Peyresourde [1636 posts] 2 years ago
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Actually to add to this: why would Fat Pat release just this? I imagine this is just a warning shot across the bows. Don't dig too deep or else I sink the whole ship. We will see though. If there is much more dirt on British Cycling members it is likely that Fat Pat's past gets buried. But I suppose we will never know.

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Colin Peyresourde [1636 posts] 2 years ago
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Just finished Lionel Birnie's essay 'A guide for the cynics and sceptics', part of the Anthology Part 2 that coincided with the TdF.

It makes unsettling reading really and set in the context of this does not present a case where any innocence can be presumed. Though equally guilt should be neither. Healthy scepticism of the highest order is more apt.

I am afraid that just because a PR representative releases information does not mean that he is anymore guilty/anymore innocent than before. Just like with Chris Horner's whereabouts email. Although he legitimately changed his whereabouts, it is an example of playing the rules rather than working within them. In this case the effort to inculcate JTL into the system early could be an effort to manipulate the rules rather than work to the spirit of them.

I mention this because if you were to read the above you are faced with one scenario, that Endura racing are to be believed and that we should trust them and by extension JTL. Sport people rarely take prisoners and cheats less so. These press releases are fairly standard pre-emptive denial policy. Whether it is a lie or the truth, the response is the same and a the words are empty.

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Swindaloo [15 posts] 2 years ago
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Not sure why you think Pat has anything to do with it coming out. The story came out through a David Walsh article. David Walsh, the man who was " granted unlimited access to the team in 2013 "(Team Sky). It wouldn't be hard for him to hear about it.

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daddyELVIS [654 posts] 2 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

Actually to add to this: why would Fat Pat release just this? I imagine this is just a warning shot across the bows. Don't dig too deep or else I sink the whole ship. We will see though. If there is much more dirt on British Cycling members it is likely that Fat Pat's past gets buried. But I suppose we will never know.

I'm with you on this one - let's see how much effort BC puts into investigating the previous regime now he's in the hot seat and British Cycling is under a little pressure.

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Colin Peyresourde [1636 posts] 2 years ago
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Swindaloo wrote:

Not sure why you think Pat has anything to do with it coming out. The story came out through a David Walsh article. David Walsh, the man who was " granted unlimited access to the team in 2013 "(Team Sky). It wouldn't be hard for him to hear about it.

The story was leaked from somewhere. Brian Cookson does not know where the story was leaked from and I doubt David Walsh is likely to say 'Bob Collins told me' so to protect his sources. Do you get the impression Sky wanted this sh'tstorm? Because I don't and they would definitely not want Walsh to know. Walsh's time with Sky is effectively over as of the end of the TdF. They're not going to let him camp with him all year either.

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 2 years ago
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SevenHills wrote:

Anyone else feel that this is Pat's parting gift? Ensure that the new UCI President has to deal with doping speculation involving a rider from his own country.

Surely i am being too cynical aren't i?  3

Must say, this did cross my mind.

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 2 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
SevenHills wrote:

Anyone else feel that this is Pat's parting gift? Ensure that the new UCI President has to deal with doping speculation involving a rider from his own country.

Surely i am being too cynical aren't i?  3

Regardless of guilt. Yes, I agree. The timing was perfect.

Colin, we agree on something  3

Handshake, high five, or whatever suits you.

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James Warrener [1080 posts] 2 years ago
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I hope he can prove his innocence (if he isn't guilty of course). The problem being he is tarnished by this come what may.

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Swindaloo [15 posts] 2 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

The story was leaked from somewhere. Brian Cookson does not know where the story was leaked from and I doubt David Walsh is likely to say 'Bob Collins told me' so to protect his sources. Do you get the impression Sky wanted this sh'tstorm? Because I don't and they would definitely not want Walsh to know. Walsh's time with Sky is effectively over as of the end of the TdF. They're not going to let him camp with him all year either.

That doesn't mean he's not in contact with anyone on Team Sky, riders or staff. I'm with you on him not revealing a source. My Point was more about Pat not being involved than Sky volunteering it to David Walsh to write about. Obviously I've no clue but I find it hard to suspect Pat being the most likely culprit was all.

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didds [42 posts] 2 years ago
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well, if PM really does have stuff to sink the whole ship isn't now the time to put up or shut up?

failure to release anything he knows of now only underlines how involved he could have been himself - or that he he actually knows nothing?

didds

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Colin Peyresourde [1636 posts] 2 years ago
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Hardly. If you release the right bit of information to the press but suggest behind closed doors that more dirt will surface it will make Cookson think twice about uncovering the lies and corruption of McQuaid.

Cookson may have the choice to cutt-off his own right arm to clean house, or else let the sleeping dogs lie.....or at least that would be the basis for the political intrigue.

On another note my GF's innocent question, why would the UCI restrict additional testing? is an interesting proposition which leads you to the question why do Team Endura want him to get a passport early? The stated reason is to avoid the suspicion of PEDs, but the blood passport does not test for PEDs, it is just something which shows up anomalies which can suggest their usage. The passport is really a means to minimise drug usage because spikes and dips, without reason, are more apparent - leading to a steady, but low/variable usage to mimic a TE.

It's equally the case that if they set him up early on the scheme it means that his new team have to commit to supporting a set of values to match that of Endura of risk him being caught. In fact it reminds me a bit of Lance Armstrong's deal to get his values from/or after (I forget which) the Tour Down Under so that he could normalise them for the blood passport.

Why did they really need to try to circumvent the UCI process? They can test the sh!t out of him if they like and release his blood results to all and sundry. Obviously having the official stamp of the UCI and WADA makes it all seem more official, but entirely unnecessary.

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Pitstone Peddler [104 posts] 2 years ago
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Sounds like he cheated to me. Shout as much as you like about other circumstances involved but if he was Italian or Spanish, so would you. The comments about ill health etc are as credible as infected meat to me. Truth will out in time.

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bigmel [106 posts] 2 years ago
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JTL's agent is Andrew McQuaid.
(Fat Pat's son)
Murky waters indeed . . .