Banned British pro Jonathan Tiernan-Locke will be riding next month’s Exmoor Beast sportive “as his friends seek to expose the injustice of his recent two year ban from pro cycling” according to event organisers.
Devon local Tiernan-Locke, who blamed the inconsistency in values on drinking 33 units of alcohol at a celebratory outing, is banned until 31 December 2015, but has been invited to ride the Exmoor Beast – returning for its eighth edition – by the event’s organisers, who state a firm belief in the 29-year-old’s innocence.
Exmoor Beast promoter, Marcus Di Vincenzo, said: “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. At the hearing into Jon’s case, UKAD [UK Anti-Doping] 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 GB 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.”
Di Vincenzo added: “…we aim to use the opportunity to add to a petition to persuade the UCI (the sport’s governing body) to revisit [Jon’s] case and, hopefully, clear his name.”
This year’s Exmoor Beast takes place on Sunday 19 October with entries due to close at midnight on 12 October. Find out more about the event at www.exmoorbeast.org