Jonathan Tiernan-Locke's camp strikes back
Jonathan Tiernan-Locke's former team and his agent have both spoken out after the Plymouth-born rider withdrew from racing at the weekend, in the wake of possible discrepancies in his biological passport data.
The 28-year-old joined Team Sky from Endura after winning the 2012 Tour of Britain, but has struggled in the 2013 season and has now been asked by the International Cycling Union to explain the biological passport data.
Tiernan-Locke's agent, Andrew McQuaid, told the Daily Telegraph yesterday: "We are currently planning to answer the questions raised by the UCI and we're extremely confident that, once we present our answers, the case won't go any further.
"As this should be a confidential process, we're not to say any more at this time."
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After the issue was thrust into the public domain by the Sunday Times last weekend, Team Sky responded by saying: "We have no doubts over his performance, behaviour or tests at Team Sky, and understand any anomaly is in readings taken before he joined the team."
Yesterday, Endura issued its response, insisting that Tiernan-Locke had chosen the team while fully aware of its anti-doping policy. Endura reiterated its anti-doping stance while revealing that it requested "additional spontaneous testing" through the United Kingdom Anti-doping Agency.
Endura also stated that it had asked to pay for Tiernan-Locke to join the UCI's biological passport in 2012 "in order to counter the rumours of performance-enhancing drugs that circulated after his wins in Tour Méditerranéen and Tour du Haut Var". The team stated that the request was refused by the UCI.
"Endura Racing's culture has always been entirely at odds with cheating in any form 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," a statement issued by Endura read.
"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 under way 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.
"JTL joined Endura Racing in January 2012 and, when it became clear he had Word Tour 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. Sky had full access to JTL from the point it was agreed for him to train with them at this camp. Although Endura never received data from these tests, neither was anything raised by Sky as unusual or concerning."