By Nick Butler

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke's hearing into his adverse biological passport findings has been delayed following a request ©Getty ImagesAn anti-doping hearing into British Team Sky cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke will not take place until later this summer after a delay was requested by the athlete's lawyers. 

Riding for the Endura Racing Team in 2012, Tiernan-Locke became the first home winner of the Tour of Britain since 1993, and soon after signed a two-year deal soon to ride for Team Sky. 

But following a disappointing season on the bike, the 29-year-old was withdrawn from the British team for the 2013 World Championships in Florence and it subsequently emerged there were "abnormalities" in his biological passport results.

The Plymouth-born rider denies any wrongdoing but has been suspended by his team and has not raced since September 2013.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) opened disciplinary proceedings in December 2013 but the United Kingdom Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) is handling the case on their behalf.

They have claimed the delay was at the "athlete's request", and have not announced a date on which the hearing will now take place.

"The hearing of the anti-doping case against Mr Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has been postponed until the summer," a UKAD statement explained.

"This is at the athlete's request.

"Proceedings are confidential until their conclusion, as dictated by the anti-doping rules.

"To protect the rights of all involved and the integrity of the process, we are unable to comment further or disclose exact time-frames, which are in any event changeable depending on outcomes."

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke was hailed as a British Cycling star after winning the 2012 Tour of Britain, but the last 18 months have proved less successful ©Getty ImagesJonathan Tiernan-Locke was hailed as a British Cycling star after winning the 2012 Tour of Britain, but the last 18 months have proved less successful ©Getty Images

But Tiernan-Locke has denied the delay was due to a personal request and attributes it to his lead lawyer's ongoing case over-running, causing the process to be put back.

He hopes the delays will be no longer than a month.

"I most certainly did not ask for any such delay, I just want this over and done with to clear my name and get my life back," he told the Plymouth Herald

"As I understand it, we were due to go to the hearing next week but one of my legal team is involved in another case and that has or is over-running by a couple of days.

"But that situation is enough to make it difficult to instantly set up a new hearing as both sides, witnesses and so on, were affected.

"Believe me, no-one has more reason to get this over and done with than I do."

Although Team Sky insist 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 "notes that Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has been charged with a violation of the UCI anti-doping rules".

"We have been informed that he intends to defend himself against that charge," it adds.

"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.

"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."

The case will eventually be heard by a UKAD panel likely to consist of a senior lawyer as chairman, sitting alongside two medical or scientific experts.

It is unknown now whether a decision will be made before Tiernan-Locke's contract with Team Sky expires in October. 

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December 2013: Tiernan-Locke to face anti-doping hearing in blow to clean image of British Cycling
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