Posted Tuesday 2nd September 2014 –
Former Team Sky rider and 2012 Tour of Britain winner Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is set to lead the field out in next month’s Exmoor Beast sportive, as his friends seek to expose the injustice of his recent 2 year ban from pro cycling.
The organisers of the Tiverton based event have invited Tiernan Locke (29) to their end of season sportive because – along with many other well informed members of the cycling community – they firmly believe in his innocence. “If the United Kingdom Anti Doping findings, or should I say lack of them, went before a court of law, they would be kicked out on the grounds of insufficient evidence.” says Marcus Di Vincenzo, promoter of ‘The Beast’. “At the hearing into Jon’s case, UKAD were unable to say what drug he was supposed to have taken and/or what illegal procedure he may have undergone. They accepted an untimely heavy drinking session, celebrating his ToB victory, Team G.B. World Championship selection and impending Sky contract, would have sent his normal blood levels rocketing off the radar. However, they didn’t accept he wouldn’t have immediately tried to rehydrate himself to bring his levels back to near normal. The truth is, he couldn’t stomach drinking gallons of water and risk throwing up in front of his newfound GB teammates. So, it’s his word against theirs but they ban him anyway and, in my book, that’s not right.” Now, having already spent an estimated £35,000 trying to fight the case, Tiernan-Locke can not afford to take it to arbitration.
Immediately after the ban was confirmed, Tiernan-Locke was considering turning his back on competition, saying: “After all of this, I don’t know whether my heart is still in it. I got into riding because I loved it, not because I thought it would be a great way to earn a living. There has been so much negativity, and I’m still a young man with plenty to offer, especially after this experience. In the meantime, I’m looking at other options. One good thing to come out of it, is that you find out who your real friends are.” Those friends have persuaded him to keep riding the bike and hold his head high, secure in the knowledge that he is, and always has been, a clean athlete.
Di Vincenzo added “Participating in the Exmoor Beast is one of Jon’s first options and we aim to use the opportunity to add to a petition to persuade the UCI (the sport’s governing body) to revisit his case and, hopefully, clear his name
With less than six weeks to go before entries close, hundreds of riders have already booked their places in ‘The Beast’, which is now firmly established as the U.K’s major sportive season closer. Over 10,000 riders have taken up the challenge to ‘tame the beast’ since the event was launched 7 years ago, with many dining out on their unforgettable experiences. If you want to be one of them you need to act very soon, because the clock really is ticking down now to the close of entries at midnight on October 12th. The event takes place on Sunday October 19th For further information and to enter the event click on www.exmoorbeast.org