Team Sky’s commitment to anti-doping came under the spotlight again after the International Cycling Union confirmed that it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Jonathan Tiernan-Locke.
Discrepancies in the 2012 Tour of Britain winner’s biological passport data demonstrated an anti-doping violation, according to the world governing body; he will not take part in any duties with Sky until the disciplinary process is complete.
The 28-year-old from Plymouth withdrew from the Great Britain team for the World Championships road race at the end of September, initially blaming poor form; it was later revealed that he had pulled out over “possible discrepancies” in his biological passport and was asked to explain his results to the UCI.
Tiernan-Locke has strongly denied any wrongdoing and is expected to cite his battle with chronic fatigue syndrome in his defence, although it appears his explanation was not adequate after the UCI instructed British Cycling to discipline the rider.
“The analysis of the biological passport of Mr Jonathan Tiernan-Locke by the experts panel has demonstrated an anti-doping rule violation (use of prohibited substances and/or methods),” a UCI statement said. “Consequently and in compliance with the UCI anti-doping rules, the UCI has requested his national federation to initiate disciplinary proceedings.”
British Cycling confirmed that it had received the UCI’s request and that “those proceedings will be managed independently of British Cycling by UK Anti- Doping”.
Team Sky, which has a zero-tolerance policy to doping, reiterated its September stance, insisting that the period under review was before Tiernan-Locke joined them.
“There are no doubts about his approach or performance in Team Sky. This is a team that trains, races and wins clean,” read a statement. Tiernan-Locke won the Tour of Britain with former Scottish team Endura before moving to Sky this year.