Banned cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has hit out at the UCI’s biological passport, claiming it would not bear scrutiny in a “proper court,” and that the proces is loaded against riders. The ex-Team Sky rider also compared his situation to that of Tinkoff-Saxo’s Roman Kreuziger, cleared on similar charges.
The UCI appealed the decision last September of the Czech authorities to clear Kreuziger to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but the governing body dropped the case two days before the hearing, which had been scheduled for last week.
Tiernan-Locke, who said in April that he plans to return to racing next year when his ban ends, told the Western Morning News: “I’m really happy for Kreuziger that he has finally been cleared, but it’s so worrying that it got that far.
“I can only imagine the expense he must have incurred – and he must have been almost out the door on his way to Switzerland when the UCI decision came. It was so last-minute. His reputation has taken a massive hit, just like mine has, and also that of his team.”
Tiernan-Locke himself was handed a partly backdated two-year ban last July for irregularities in his athlete biological passport dating back to September 2012, when he was with Endura Racing.
He said the values in question, relating to the week between him winning the Tour of Britain and riding in the UCI Road World Championships, were due to dehydration after a night out celebrating his move to Sky with his girlfriend, claiming he drank 33 units of alcohol.
UK Anti-Doping’s National Anti-Doping panel dismissed his defence, however, and stripped him of that Tour of Britain win. He was also sacked by Team Sky, and while he has continued to assert his innocence.
He did not exercise his right to appeal the decision to the CAS, and said: “As far as taking my own case further, the small window of opportunity to go to CAS has long since passed, even if I could have afforded it.
“However, should the chance arise in the future where I could be heard at a proper court, I would grab it with both hands, as I’m confident the ‘passport’ would not stand up to the same scrutiny applied to forensics there.”
He added: “I’ve never wanted to hurt the sport of cycling – I hope to race again next year. But as I found out, the process is so weighted against the athlete.
“For the UCI, the passport has to seem infallible, so they need to win cases at almost any cost. And it’s wrong that, on the back of that, they have the power of God, it seems.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.