Riding for his own team, Saint Piran, the 31-year-old is content just riding UK races

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke insists that he races to appease his love for cycling, and that he has no intentions of attempting to gain a professional contract in the future.

The Plymouth-born rider’s two-year doping suspension lapsed at the end of 2015 and he made a comeback to racing in February when he finished second at the Primavera Road Race.

Initially upset by the category two licence awarded to him by British Cycling, the former Team Sky rider has ridden seven events since his return, winning one race – the Modbury Spring Road Race, a regional A event in South Devon.

In more high profile events, Tiernan-Locke – riding for his team Saint Piran – finished sixth overall at the Totnes-Vire and 28th in last Sunday’s Manx International GP.

Winning races to attract the attention of bigger teams, however, is not his ambition. “Last week at the Isle of Man was the heaviest I’ve ever raced at – I was nine kilograms heavier than what I was,” he told Cycling Weekly.

“When I looked at my power afterwards, I was only 30 seconds down on the front group but I was putting a lot more watts out.

“I knew that would be the case but I’m realistic that it’s a hobby these days, I’m getting by on 10 hours a week training. Realistically, I’m riding at a good level and I’m happy with that.”

Tiernan-Locke is juggling his property management business, developing Saint Piran into the development and feeder team he wants it to be, alongside his training.


Disc brakes: what’s the thoughts of the pros?


He added: “This year’s been so busy, I have a lot of other things going on. I’ve had to count every minute of every day for the last six months.

“Including both races (Manx International and this weekend’s Tour of Reservoir) it’s about 10 hours [of training] this week which is poor but it’s all I can give it.

“Last year, I hadn’t touched a bike for a year and I thought ‘hang on, why wouldn’t I go back to racing? I do like it’.

“I have mixed feelings – I don’t want it as a job again, that’s a big step up going from what I’m doing at the moment.

“I’d be going from riding for 10, 13, 15 hours a week on the bike when I wanted to, to going out with numbers on my stem, riding to hurt myself.

“I can get round with my fitness I’ve got, be slightly competitive and win races and enjoy it. I’m sure I’ll get a few more wins down the line.”

  • Jackson

    Clicked through to this article from one on Vinokourov’s gold bike. Two unrepentant dopers, two very differing tones in the comments section…

  • Stevo

    Because his story is more interesting than those of most other individuals who have a job and ride a bike?

    Actually I am grateful for virtually any story on CW that isn’t about Specialized/Trek/SRAM or what somebody said on twatter.

  • Nomad

    Ridiculous blood parameters is an understatement. His Off-score was an astronomical ~155. An Off-score of >133 is considered irrefutable evidence of blood manupulation.

    Consider that Ashenden examined Armstrong’s #s during the 09 Tour and concluded there was evidence of blood manupulation with an Off-score of only ~112.

    Looks like JTL was going full throttle…

  • Nomad

    There was a lot of evidence for blood-doping; his Off-score was an astronomical ~155. Anything >133 is irrefutable evidence of blood manipulation. 85 – 95 is considered normal range and no evidence of manipulation.

    His hct was 53% and his reticulocytes were 0.15%. Normal retics are 0.5 – 1.5%. When transfusion of blood occurs, hct/hg goes up and retics go down. With EPO, usually, you would see hct go up as well as retics also increase.

    Here’s a good article on his #’s: “What teams can learn from the Tiernan-Locke case” (Cycling Tips/2014).

  • Simon Barnes

    Exactly….with so many individuals who have a job and ride their bike why pick JTL out for coverage…?

  • Simon Barnes

    love the sport just not sure this individual is newsworthy? I think the point (i was trying poorly to articulate) was there are so many individuals who have a job and ride their bike why pick JTL out for coverage…?

  • Paul Jakma

    Right, so why does Franklin not think ABP evidence is evidence of doping? Also, he’s trying to say there’s no evidence of doping against JTL, which any reasonable person could assume indicates Franklin is trying to say JTL is innocent of the accusation.

    The funny thing is that JTL had fairly ridiculous blood parameters. To the point his expert had to try argue that JTL’s drinking could have had a far more extreme effect on causing his reticulocyte levels to drop than the most extreme chemotherapy is known to.

    I await Mr Franklin’s elaborations.

  • Hans Stiles

    Ian Franklin did not say he didn’t dope, he said there was no evidence of dope, but an ABP infraction/anomaly. JTL’s defence was the binge drinking story, which was rejected and the rest is well documented.

    Actually, I find this an odd article. JTL is effectively justifying a decision he previously decried, namely to ‘demote’ him to Cat 2. Based on his results, he is racing at the appropriate level.

  • Paul Jakma

    Been a while, but I did. Again, why don’t you elaborate? Both on how you think testing for EPO should work and does not work under the ABP, and on why JTL did not dope.

  • ian franklin

    If you read the verdict on JTL from the doping authorities, you may well understand Mr Franklin’s reasonable stance on this issue. Don’t let blind prejudice cloud your judgment like so many other low-brows.

  • Paul Jakma

    That the biopassport is not evidence of doping. I am very curious to hear what Mr Franklin would think does constitute evidence of doping for the likes of EPO, and his basis for differentiating between them, as I suspect he may be under some misapprehensions.

  • Stevo

    What specifically is “rubbish” in Mr Franklin’s comment?

  • Vance Harvey

    What a febrile comment!

  • Paul Jakma

    What rubbish. Do you know anything about anti-doping testing?

  • Stevo

    Like most professional and amateur cyclists?

  • Chris Williams

    Well said that man….

  • ian franklin

    There was no evidence of dope – only a biological passport infraction. I say, leave this guy alone to enjoy his cycling. If he did dope, then he’s paid the price. If he didn’t – it just shows how unfair the world can be at times.

  • Michael

    If you’re not interested in cycling you picked the wrong website, Simon.

  • Michael

    In this case Icarus hid behind a tree and said “yeah dad I went flying earlier you must have been looking in the wrong place”

  • Michael

    Clearly he doesn’t want to work to achieve results.

    That’s the message in this article and, yep that’s still the mentality of a cheat.

    I’m cycling more hours a week than he can be bothered to.

    And, no, he doesn’t deserve anything. That just implies that everyone should be dishonest until they get caught and then a short time later carry on as though nothing happened

  • Brendan Power

    That being the case, presumably you don’t want to see any other articles about Contador, Pantani, Simpson, Millar, etc, etc. We are not in a position to judge whether he took drugs or not but he has served his time and now deserves a second chance.

  • J1

    “I don’t want it as a job again”

    ….or can’t because of the lack of dope? Maybe the hunger has just gone?

  • Max Smith

    i hope that JTL gets a few clean wins this year. He was a doper, he’s paid the price , now don’t muck up the second chance.

  • Simon Barnes

    looking forward to more in this gripping series about individuals who have a job and like riding their bike…..

  • Henrdry251

    Icarus flew to close to the sun… and paid the consequences.

  • contrelamontre

    I hope JTL gets a few wins this season. He is a very talented bike rider. Don’t think he was a doper but was too fragile to cope with Sky’s savage training methods.

    With quality training and plenty of rest, JTL is a good rider and can mix it with the top domestic pros.

    I don’t think he handled his biological passport problems in the best way but I am happy to see him racing again and wish him all the best.

  • Sheldon

    Honest comments from JTL, well done for your performances this season, he will only get better as the season progresses.

  • ummm…

    No not individually. I can see how elite athletes end up there. He has to be held responsible for his actions – but so does the athletic community. Paradoxically, this would be a great final article not because dopers should be expelled in line with what we profess to be our ideals, but because the man did his time and should be left in peace, IMO.

  • Chris Williams

    Lets hope so – its not as if we forced him to DOPE

  • ummm…

    so, is this the last JTL article? is this the goodbye?