Thursday, 7 June 2012

Rumours Continue Over Future Of Jon Tiernan-Locke

Its getting to that point in the season (usually around the Tour de France) that the rumour mill starts to do its rounds regarding rider transfers. It's true that a lot of business is done at the Tour, if you watch the coverage intently you will see big name riders talking to rival team management in the background, this is all part of the tour and the circus that accompanies it. So far there have been rumours of mergers, a trading places type scenario regarding the Schleck Brothers and Alberto Contador (Contador to go to Radioshack-Nissan and the Schleck's to trade places and take up a position at SaxoBank). But rumours surrounding the future of Endura rider Jon Tiernan-Locke have been doing the rounds since his early season showing in Europe...

Earlier in the year I broke the news that Tiernan-Locke had been training with sky (here) but last night Eurosport Production Manager Danny Nelissen tweeted that ''It appears Jon Tiernan-Locke has signed for Sky #transfer'' which came as a surprise to me. The rumour mill can be quite a destructive force, if the details are inaccurate, then it can effect not only the rider in question, but their current teams moral. As with the rumour that Vincenzo Nibali has already done a deal with Astana for next season, if this is the case, how will the rest of the Liquigas team feel about working tirelessly for him in this years tour? Why should they work for him? Why should Liquigas even select him? All valid questions. So when such a bold statement came to light about Tiernan-Locke I was certainly concerned.

Jon Tiernan-Locke has been well looked after by Endura, without their investment and belief in him, especially team manager Brian Smith then Jon Tiernan-Locke could still be looking around for a decent domestic contract. Jon Tiernan-Locke is better than that though. I instantly doubted the new rumour because I know that Locke would rather keep things under wraps and pay his dues at Endura until the end of the season, it's fair on him and on the team and he hinted as much in a recent Cicle Magasine article, even if it is pretty obvious that he and Endura are likely to part company at the end of the season.

Brian Smith was quick to stop the rumour in it's tracks. tweeting "It's OK Jon, rumour's will always occur over your future." In fact Tiernan-Locke was also quick to respond: "@dnelissen This is news to me!"

I spoke to Brian shortly after Nelissen tweeted and he told me it was news to both him and Jon, he said "It's news to us, but there will always be rumours...he will decide later in the year". It's clear that this is unwelcome and untimely rumour and shows just how media attention can do more damage than good.

As for Jon Tiernan-Locke's immediate future, well, he's been out of action for over a month thanks to a broken collarbone sustained in this years Lincoln GP. He tweeted yesterday that "Collarbone now in 1 piece rather than 2 and soon to be a month on the turbo done! Route du Sud in a week - Hope I've used all my bad luck quota!". The stage race takes place in Southern France between the 14th and 17th of June and will cover some 733km of mountainous terrain which looks to suit Tiernan-Locke's strengths, It will be exciting to see him back in action. I'll be previewing the race in a couple of days and will cover each stage as it happens...

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