Banned British cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke plans to return to racing on the UK circuit next season, according to the Torquay Herald Express.
Tiernan-Locke, 30, was handed a two-year suspension for biological passport violations in July 2014. Blood samples taken shortly after his win at the 2012 Tour of Britain were shown to have abnormally high values relative to samples taken eight months later. He is free to race again on January 1, 2016.
He blamed the abnormal blood values on a failure to rehydrate after a night out following his Tour of Britain victory. He maintains his innocence, and has been a vocal detractor of the biological passport system.
The rider, known as a punchy climber, believes he can return to his 2012 form next season.
“I’ve no doubt that I can get back to the level I was riding at in 2012,” he told the Herald Express.
Tiernan-Locke’s 2012 season, which included the win at the Tour of Britain and a strong showing at the world championships, led to a contract with Sky for 2013. He was suspended from Sky in the fall of 2013 as the biological passport anomalies surfaced.
Earlier declarations of permanent retirement have faded.
“I did say at one point that I was never going to race again, and I am going back on that,” Tiernan-Locke said. “But they say ‘never say never,’ and the anger I felt [at the time of his ban] has gone now. If I win a race, it’s not like I’m going to stick two fingers up in the air at anyone.”