Second place and a six second time bonus was enough to move EnduraRacing's John Tiernan-Locke in to the overall lead of the Tour of Britain today with Team NetApp's Leopold Koenig taking the stage win. Garmin Sharp's Nathan Hass was third on the stage and moves up to third overall, while yesterday's overall leader, Leigh Howard of Orica GreenEdge moves down to second.
Tiernan-Locke attacked on the first of two climbs of Caerphilly Mountain which was the focal point of today's stage - first catching and then passing the remains of the day's six man breakaway. Over the following miles Tiernan Locke was joined by four other riders, Koenig was the last of those to bridge over and by the crucial point on the second climb he was only one left.
The Czech who afterwards said he had been targeting this stage was content to let Tiernan Locke do all the work as the duo built up a time gap big enough by the finish to give the Endura rider the lead even without the time bonus. Last week NetApp and EnduraRacing announced they would merge for next season - however it was very much there was no special favours on offer today. As the finish line approached Koenig duly popped out from his soon-to-be teammate, Tiernan Locke's slipstream to take the stage win.
The Endura rider takes a 13 second advantage in to tomorrow's stage from Barnstaple to Dartmouth - home territory for a rider who was born in Plymouth.
The other big news of today's stage occurred before it had even started with the withdrawal of Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins from the race with a stomach bug - not as some wags suggested a chill caused by waiting around for Mark Cavendish yesterday. in a statement Wiggins apologised to his fans for not being able to take any further part in the race.
"I'm sorry I can't continue and would like to thank all those fans, of all ages, for the support," Wiggins said.
"I've loved the last six days. It's been a great experience but this bug sadly means I'll now miss the climax."
The Tour de France winner will now concentrate on his preparations for the World Championships in Holland next weekend.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.