Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is calling on British Cycling to give him at least a Category 1 licence as he prepares to return to racing following the expiry of his two-year ban for doping.
The former Team Sky rider, aged 31, has reportedly been given a Category 2 licence and plans to race at Mid-Devon Cycling Club’s Primavera Meeting on 28 February, reports the Torquay Herald Express.
He told the newspaper: "I know these things can be discretionary, and I haven't been allowed to ride for two years.
"But I held an Elite licence every year I raced since 2003, so I think BC [British Cycling] might give me at least a 1st Cat one now.
"It would be a bit petty if they make me start as a 2nd Cat, and I would be concerned if they stick to it because that might make it more difficult for me to get into National races, especially early in the season,” he added.
"Some organisers prioritise entries according to category, which might put me down the order.
"But BC have to discuss it at a 'discretionary panel' meeting first and hopefully they'll change it then.
"If I was a 3rd Cat rider, and had a race turned on its head by an ex-pro, I think I'd be complaining," he added.
Tiernan-Locke said in October that despite receiving offers from domestic teams, he had decided to race as an individual on his return to the sport after his ban.
He was banned for two years in July 2014 as a result of irregularities in his biological passport, found to be consistent with using banned substances, following his move from Endura Racing to Team Sky ahead of the 2013 season.
He claimed the suspicious blood values resulted from a drinking binge in Bristol to celebrate his contract with Team Sky in the week between his winning the 2012 Tour of Britain and being Great Britain’s protected rider at the UCI Road World Championships.
UK Anti-Doping’s disciplinary panel rejected that defence, while the rider chose not to exercise his right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
In July last year, Tiernan-Locke also received a 17-month driving ban after police found him to be two and a half times over the legal limit for alcohol when they stopped him in Plymouth early in the morning of 24 April.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.