Tiernan-Locke drugs ban upheld as binge claim is rejected
Jonathan Tiernan-Locke's two-year ban for using the illegal blood-boosting drug EPO was upheld yesterday by UK Anti-Doping, which rejected the former Team Sky rider's claim that his anomalous blood samples were the result of an alcohol binge.
The decision of UKAD comes a month after Tiernan-Locke was banned for two years by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and sacked by Team Sky.
The incident dates back to a blood sample taken on 22 September 2012. UKAD confirmed Tiernan-Locke was guilty of "using a prohibited substance and/or prohibited method (blood doping) to boost levels of haemoglobin".
Asked for an explanation at a hearing last month, Tiernan-Locke claimed he had gone on a drinking binge to celebrate his new two-year deal with Sky and was still dehydrated two days later when the sample was taken.
But UKAD said "the explanation provided by the rider. . . did not sufficiently explain the abnormal values obtained from the sample".
Meanwhile, Chris Froome has confirmed he will lead Team Sky in the Vuelta a Espana after recovering from wrist and hand fractures that forced him out of the Tour de France.
Sky announced its nine-man line-up yesterday, and confirmed that Donegal man Philip Deignan will also ride as support to last year's Tour de France winner.
Froome said: "I'm really pleased with how my recovery has gone, I've been training hard and the support team are pleased with my progress."
Mark Cavendish, however, will not take part, despite returning to racing last week.
The 29-year-old had been included in a long-list of participants by organisers, but was not in the final nine-man Omega Pharma-Quick Step squad released yesterday. Without him, the team will focus on helping Rigoberto Uran challenge the likes of Froome, Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana in the general classification.