Tiernan-Locke takes Tour of Britain title
Cavendish sprints to victory in Guildford
Last Updated: 16/09/12 6:26pm
Tiernan-Locke: Top step of the podium
Jonathan Tiernan-Locke became the first British rider to win the Tour of Britain after Mark Cavendish had sprinted to his third victory on the final stage of the Tour of Britain.
Tiernan-Locke (Endura) began the day 18 seconds ahead of Nathan Haas (Garmin-Shap) - and 23 seconds ahead of Damiano Caruso (Liquigas) - and maintained that advantage by finishing alongside his closest rivals in the main bunch.
Cavendish meanwhile, had rounded off his reign in the world champion’s jersey perfectly by outpacing Boy van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare) and Fabio Sabatini (Liquigas) on the cobbled drag to the line.
Immediately after the stage, Cavendish told ITV4: "The victory feels very nice and the fans have been incredible. The amount of people on the road today was like the Olympic Games. That's been the same all week, come rain or shine.
"I thought people had forgotten about me a little bit - it's been all about sideburns this week (laughs) - but seeing the amount of people in Guildford, I just wanted to win.
"It was my last day in the rainbow jersey and I wanted to finish it off in style. The team rode really hard all day. Breaks were going left, right and centre, but they stayed with me and led me to the line. I'm really happy."
Massive crowds had lined the 147.7km route from Reigate and witnessed Simon Richardson (Team IG), Jack Bobridge (Orica-GreenEdge), Wesley Kreder (Vacansoleil), and Pete Williams (Node 4) form the day’s early break.
Williams consolidated his place at the top of the sprint classification by winning the day’s three intermediate sprints, but Team Sky and Endura had the quartet in their sights as they began the final categorised climb of Barhatch Lane.
That was when NetApp came to the front, and the pace the American team set not only overhauled those four riders back, but saw the peloton temporarily splinter as they battled their way to the summit.
Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel), Liam Holohan (Raleigh) and the plucky Bobridge went clear on descent which followed, and then Bobridge attacked again once the remnants of that break had been reeled back in.
Bobridge would meet the same fate inside the last 13km, and after another solo dig from Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel), the peloton were back as one as they passed the 6km to go banner.
The pace Team Sky in the closing stages set negated any further attacks, and the near-perfect lead out they produced saw Cavendish romp to Team Sky’s fourth victory and send many of the massed ranks home with smiles on their faces.