By Nick Butler

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke faces disciplinary hearings due to abnormal biological passport readings ©Getty ImagesDecember 17 - Great Britain's Jonathan Tiernan-Locke faces an International Cycling Union (UCI) disciplinary hearing after abnormalities in his biological passport suggested drug use, it has been confirmed.

Tiernan-Locke denies and will "strongly contest" the allegations which relate to the 2012 season so before the 28-year-old joined Team Sky, his management team have insisted. 

After a strong year for his Endura Racing Team, culminating in him becoming the first British winner of the Tour of Britain since 1993, Tiernan-Locke subsequently made the move to the Tour de France winning British team for the 2013 campaign.

But, after enduring a disappointing season, he was withdrawn from the World Championships in September after being asked to explain the passport readings.

The world governing have now confirmed that disciplinary action will now be taken, adding in a statement that "in compliance with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI has requested his National Federation (British Cycling) to initiate disciplinary proceedings."

The abnormal readings relate to the 2012 season, and culminated in victory at the 2012 Tour of Britain ©Getty ImagesThe abnormal readings relate to the 2012 season, which culminated for Tiernan-Locke in victory at the Tour of Britain ©Getty Images

While the news is a much less bitter blow for the sport then the revelations surrounding seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong which surfaced this time last year, it still questions the integrity of British Cycling, which has a relatively unblemished doping record in comparison with other countries.

It is the first high profile case surrounding a British cyclist since the then world time trial champion David Miller admitted to doping in 2004.

A British Cycling spokesman confirmed the organisation "has been asked by the UCI to begin proceedings against Jonathan Tiernan-Locke based on an analysis of his biological passport."

"As with any other doping violation charge, those proceedings will be managed independently of British Cycling by UK Anti-Doping," the spokesman added.

UK Anti-Doping director of legal Graham Arthur also commented on the issue in a statement, and described how they "are progressing a case relating to a possible anti-doping rule violation".

"The matter is subject to confidentiality restrictions imposed by the anti-doping rules, and as such we are unable to comment further," he added.

David Miller is the most infamous failed test of recent years among British cyclists...he has since returned to become a prominent anti-doping campaigner ©AFP/Getty ImagesDavid Miller is the most infamous failed test of recent years among British cyclists...he has since returned to become a prominent anti-doping campaigner ©AFP/Getty Images

Although Team Sky repeated their insistence that the abnormal readings were "taken before he signed " in 2012, the Tiernan-Locke incident also raises questions of their selection policy following their appointment of Belgian doctor Geert Leinders, who was embroiled in a doping scandal involving his previous team, Rabobank, and is now facing a criminal investigation.

In a statement Team Sky said that "we understand that the violation was highlighted by an anomaly in his biological passport, in a reading taken before he signed for this team."

"There are no doubts about his approach or performance in Team Sky.

"This is a team that trains, races and wins clean.

"Jonathan Tiernan-Locke will not ride for Team Sky or take part in any team activities - including training camps and all team duties - until a decision is made in this disciplinary hearing process."

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