News: Jonathan Tiernan-Locke

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, Devon’s former Tour of Britain winner, says he does not have the time or the motivation to return his career to the top level of UK racing.

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News: Jonathan Tiernan-Locke

David Thomas writes … Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, Devon’s former Tour of Britain winner, says he does not have the time or the motivation to return his career to the top level of UK racing. Former Team Sky rider Tiernan-Locke, now 32, came back from a two-year ‘biological passport’ ban to compete again in 2016, although he says he was never fit enough to do himself real justice.

‘JTL’ has no desire to return to the full-time professional ranks, and he has not entered 2017 early-season events. “I’m glad I raced last year, even if I was never that fit, as I felt I needed to come back and compete at some level,” said the former Mid-Devon CC-Colin Lewis Cycles star.

“I just about did the bare minimum in training, often missing a few days’ riding at a time – and that was the polar opposite to the way I was before. I have searched for the motivation, but the fact is that it’s difficult to get fired up about the kind of races that I once saw as stepping-stones to the pro world”.

“To make the sacrifices needed for me to be decent again, I’d need to be in a completely different mindset. And I wouldn’t want to be a pro again anyway.”

Tiernan-Locke now earns a living in property renovation and redevelopment, saying: “I love what I’m doing at the moment. Although I’m 32, I haven’t had a long career of racing, so if and when the desire to race returns, I might do another season”.

“I still love riding, and I do intend to get back on the bike soon. But for now, I just plan to keep fit and enjoy being a social rider – even if I probably will get stuck in now and again!”
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Tiernan-Locke enjoyed a stellar couple of years with Rapha Condor Sharp and Endura Racing, winning races at home and abroad and establishing himself as one of the most explosive climbers that the UK has produced for many years. A series of major victories in 2012, culminating in his ToB win, clinched a lucrative two-year contract with Team Sky.

More than 250,000 Westcountry fans turned out to watch him clinch his Tour triumph on a demanding penultimate stage from Barnstaple to Dartmouth. But an anomaly on a blood test led to him being accused of drug-taking. He fought the case, arguing that his ‘failed’ test had been caused by a celebratory night-out in Bristol in the midweek between his Tour win and the World Championships in Holland.

Tiernan-Locke appealed and, although he never tested positive for any performance-enhancing substance, he was banned under ‘passport’ rules and also stripped of his ToB victory. As questions were raised about Team Sky and the stewardship of the sport in the UK, Tiernan-Locke gave an interview to the BBC last year.

He restated his own innocence of any offences and also claimed that he had turned down offers of pain-killers before riding for Great Britain in the 2012 World Champs. He produced an outstanding ride in the event, finishing 19th but only five seconds down on winner Philippe Gilbert.

Tiernan-Locke set up the Saint Piran racing team for his return last season and rode with some success in National B and A-rated races. But, after his two-year suspension, he remained a stone heavier than he had been at his peak and that prevented him from being competitive at Premier Calendar or international level.



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