I can confirm that prior to riding in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke was training at altitude in Tenerife with Team Sky. However Ex-Pro and Endura Team Manager Brian Smith is quick to dispel any rumours that arise from this concerning Jon Tiernan-Locke's Future in cycling...
Although Team Sky have been linked with Jon Tiernan-Locke before, both at the end of last season and again at the start of this year following JTL's fantastic results in the Tour Mediterraneen, Tour du Haut Var and Vuelta a Murcia, Brian insists that his block of training in Tenerife has nothing to do with a possible move to Sky for 2013.
''Jon was sick at Bartoli, I have friends at Sky and it made sense for him to recover and do a good block of training in the mountains with some good weather. I would not read too much into who he was with in Tenerife.'' he went on to say ''He is still committed to Endura and I will use my friends to help him. He will make decisions on 2013 later in the year.''
It is likely that many will draw their own conclusions from this, however I'm pretty certain that Brian has used Tenerife purely to benefit his rider's performance ahead of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and any Input from Team Sky and their extensive set-up would obviously be a massive benefit to a Continental rider like Jon Tiernan-Locke in preparation for more gruelling stage races and this in itself would not be uncommon as Brian Smith is eager to point out.
''I have friends at many WorldTour teams. We used another team for blood test facilities. Lotto (Belisol) have helped us (Endura) with 25mm tubs recently. It's nice to see WorldTour teams prepared to help and have relationships with some of the smaller teams.''
Not only is there ongoing speculation as to just where JTL will be riding next year, but rumours are also abound that he may feature in this years World Championships team at the request of Dave Brailsford, though Brian Smith says that any decision on the World's team will likely be looked at after the Olympics. The route of this years Worlds will feature much of the same roads and climbs as this years Amstel Gold Race, including the final climb of the Cauberg - having watched Amstel Gold closely on Sunday, I would concur that this route would indeed play to the strengths of Jon Tiernan-Locke who possesses the explosive puncheur style needed to escape the bunch on climbs like the Cauberg, as is usual with these things though, we can speculate as much as we like but in the end, only time will tell...
My thanks to Brian Smith for sharing with me and providing honest, forthcoming and clear responses to all of my questions.