Tiernan-Locke moves into lead
Wiggins leaves race with stomach bug
Last Updated: 14/09/12 4:11pm
Jonathan Tiernan-Locke: Proved his class once again as he moved into the lead
Brit Jonathan Tiernan-Locke staked his claim for victory at the Tour of Britain after moving into the race lead after stage six.
The Endura Racing rider hit out first time up the steep Caerphilly Mountain climb as the peloton split to pieces following a tough stage in Wales.
Committed to the attack, Tiernan-Locke stayed clear at the finish and crossed the line second, Leopold Konig (Team NetApp) taking the win after bridging across to the powerful attack.
The move saw Tiernan-Locke move into the gold leader’s jersey by a margin of 13 seconds ahead of overnight leader Leigh Howard, the Orica-GreenEDGE rider unable to hang on over two passes of the fan-lined climb.
Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) led the peloton in 18 seconds later to move himself up to third overall while Luke Rowe was the first Team Sky rider home in fifth on a stage which took in roads just metres from his family home.
The British team had started the day with a reduced quota after Bradley Wiggins was forced to withdraw following an overnight stomach bug.
Star on the rise
After the finish Tiernan-Locke admitted he was pleased to open up some daylight at the top of the leaderboard.
"It was a really tough stage and I’m just relieved to get across the line with a gap," he told ITV4.
"I was concentrating on the overall. A stage win would have been nice but I had company and I got a bit of work shared (with Konig). I was happy to let the stage win slip by. I still got some bonus seconds and the overall is the main goal here this year.
"Tomorrow’s finish is a bit like today. Maybe not as severe but there’s a couple of hard climbs and a descent to the finish. It should be more of the same but we’re going to try and not let it go now."
Stage six saw the race head through the heart of the Brecon Beacons, a more selective parcours than in 2011 and four first category climbs making it the toughest day of competition thus far.
Six riders went away on a second successive day in the hills – the gap moving out as high as eight minutes before Orica-GreenEDGE and Endura Racing took hold of proceedings.
For the second day running the race split to pieces in the cross-winds, an elite group of 11 riders forging clear coming off the Brecon Beacons climb.
With big names in attendance, including overall race leader Howard, the gap was temporarily slashed to the escapees up ahead but as the peloton approached Caerphilly things came back together for a general regrouping.
The break put up a good fight against the surging peloton, still holding a gap of 2:00 heading into the final 20km but all that would change as Team Sky hit the front on the approach to the penultimate climb.
The steep 1.5km ascent saw the race spark into life again, Tiernan-Locke going clear as soon as the road ramped up to put himself in a strong position heading into the final two stages.