Johnathan Tiernan-Locke became the first British winner of the Tour of Britain for 19 years in Guildford today on a great day for British riders with Mark Cavendish taking the stage win and Kristian House and Peter Williams winning the King of the Mountains and Sprint jerseys respectively.
EnduraRacing's Tiernan-Locke finished safely in the pack to win the race by 18 seconds from Nathan Haas of Garmin Sharp, Damiano Caruso of Liquigas Cannondale took third place overall. Talking about the day afterwards Tiernan-Locke said:
"We had a relatively comfortable day of it up until the last KoM when NetApp pulled a full on lead-out into the climb and tried to split the bunch to pieces. I knew that Sky would want to bring things back for Cav, so there was no point in really going for it then as they'd be riding so quickly that nothing could stay away. Paul [Voß] looked like he wanted to go for it, but we decided just to wait for it to re-group.
"It's been a great week and thanks to the whole team for making it happen. It's not really sunk yet to be honest - guessing that will come over the next few days.
Mark Cavendish marked his final day racing in the World Champions jersey with a text book sprint for the line, lead out by Luke Rowe with 200m to go on the uphill finish on Guildford High St.
Cavendish could take further satisfaction in his performance in that this wasn't a pan-flat sprinter's course but included plenty of short, sharp hills on the route through the Surrey countryside.
Team Sky worked calmly throughout the stage to reel in the early four man break made up of IG Sigma's Simon Richardson, Peter Williams Node4 - keen to hoover up the remaining intermediate sprint points, Orica GreenEdge rider, Jack Bobridge, and Michel Kreder of Vacansoleil. The break was caught with 45Km to go, although Bobridge tried again 15Km further up the road, but despite giving it a good go the Aussie rider couldn't make it stick as Sky controlled the front of the race to get the stage win for Cavendish.
Cavendish will now head to Limburg in Holland to try to defend the world championship jersey he won last year in Copenhagen - where he will be joined in the nine man British team by Tiernan Locke. While it is unlikely that Cavendish can retain the title given the hilly nature of the Dutch course he showed today that with the right support he can do hills and win - just as he did in Milan San Remo.
Commenting on Cavendish's stage win Team Sky sports director, Servais Knaven said:
“That was an incredible performance. The team were really up for it with it being Cav’s last race in the world champion’s jersey, and although there were some attacks on that steep Barhatch Lane climb, the guys stayed cool and kept everything together, which was fantastic to see.
“They finished it off perfectly too with Cav taking a fourth stage win for the team, and you can’t ask much more than that. Christian [Knees] managed to get ninth on the general classification as well, but stage wins were the main objective for us, so to have won half the stages on offer is not bad at all.
“The crowds have been unbelievable this week as well. On the climbs and at the finishes it’s been like the Tour de France and that’s really good to see. Cycling in the UK is growing and growing and to be able to show off a British world champion and a British Tour de France winner was really nice thing for us to be able to do.”
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.