(AFP) – Team Sky cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke faces an investigation by the UCI over unexplained discrepancies in his biological passport and has withdrawn from racing, his team announced on Sunday, following a report in The Sunday Times by Irish journalist David Walsh.
The 28-year-old, who joined Sky in January after winning last year’s Tour of Britain, had been due to compete for Great Britain in the road race at the world championships in Florence, Italy, on Sunday. His late withdraw from the world championship was originally cited on a lack of form.
The world governing body uses biological passports to monitor riders’ blood readings for signs of doping offences.
Sky said that the data being assessed came from Tiernan-Locke’s time with his former team, Pro Continental squad Endura.
“Team Sky has been informed by Jonathan Tiernan-Locke that the UCI has notified him of a potential discrepancy in his biological passport data,” Sky said in a statement. “He has withdrawn from racing whilst his response to the UCI is prepared then considered by the UCI.
“We have no doubts over his performance, behavior or tests at Team Sky and understand any anomaly is in readings taken before he joined the team. Team Sky has tried to respect what should be a confidential process, allowing the rider to explain in private, without prejudice, and the anti-doping authorities to do their valuable job. At this stage in the ongoing process we will not add any further detail.”
A spokesman from British Cycling said: “It is not our policy to discuss individual cases until they are concluded and all appeals heard. Until then, information is considered personal and confidential and its release is absolutely at the discretion of the athlete. We remain committed to respecting what should be a confidential process which allows the anti-doping authorities to do their job in the right way and an individual the chance to explain privately and without prejudice.”