Tiernan-Locke a Tour de Force

Published in the Journal newspaper – Edinburgh & Glasgow edition 26/09/12

First the crowds screamed for Cavendish, then Wiggins, then Armitstead, Hoy and Pendleton. Now Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is the name rolling off supporter’s lips, in what has been a historic summer for the sport, one in which showcased a river of British cycling talent.

The Devonian climber is the first British rider to win the Tour in 19 years. Eighteen seconds behind Tiernan-Locke was Garmin’s Nathan Haas (Australia) who finished second overall. Following them in third position was Italy’s Damiano Caruso.

The 2012 Tour of Britain took off from Ipswich on 9 September consisting of 102 riders making up 17 teams. The British teams out to play were Team Sky and Team UK Youth while the Irish team An Post turned out for their fourth year to compete in the race.

At the onset things were not going the way of team Sky with a crash from reigning world champion Mark Cavendish in the opening stage. This was followed by TdF winner Bradley Wiggin’s abandonment of the Tour after stage 5 due to a stomach bug. However their looming presence was still felt with a consistently Sky dominated peloton.

The real highlight of the race across the Isles was the performance of the Endura racing rider Tiernan- Locke.  It was stage 5 when he came into his element and dominated on Gun Hill. The 27 year old then really began to push towards the top of the General Classification scale. He moved into the overall lead in stage 6 by pulling off a successful attack on Caerphilly Mountain to edge out Leigh Howard.

In his last race for Team Sky, Mark Cavendish won the final stage (8) from Reigate to Guildford which marks his 15th victory of 2012. Winning the final stage means he relinquishes his hold on the world champion’s rainbow jersey in style. United Healthcare’s Boy Van Poppel took the overall points jersey. Peter Williams claimed the sprint title and Kristian House took the Skoda King of the Mountain’s title.

Another race in the season ticked off, now let the UCI Road World Championships commence.  A nine man strong British team featuring both Tiernan-Locke and Cavendish take on the big boys in Holland this week. Already Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws have won bronze with their team AA Drink-Leontien.nl in the team time trial at the Championships.

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