Home crowd roared Jon on to win
A PLYMOTHIAN has become the first home-grown winner of the Tour of Britain for 19 years.
Jon Tiernan-Locke is now tipped to join Britain's first Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins in Team Sky.
Race organisers said the atmosphere as crowds cheered on the Plymouth winner on Saturday was like the Tour de France.
Tiernan-Locke started the final day in the IG Markets Gold Jersey as the overall race leader after stage seven, which passed over Dartmoor, through Princetown and Tavistock.
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Thousands of fans, their numbers boosted by Britain's many Olympic gold medals in cycling, lined the roadsides and Tiernan-Locke, of Endura Racing, used his local knowledge to maintain his lead.
Mick Bennett, race director of the Tour of Britain, said: "That was the best atmosphere I've experienced at a stage in the nine years we've been running the Tour and it's equal to that of the Tour de France. To see crowds of such big proportions was unbelievable. They were Tour de France size crowds. For me it was fantastic, the best stage we've ever had."
Although Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins had pulled out of the race the day before the Devon Stage, due to illness, spectators still got to see World Champion Mark Cavendish lead the pack home in Guildford.
Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "This year's Devon Stage was just phenomenal."
He described the crowd, the weather and the scenery, as "incredible", and suggested the race may have brought into the area more than the £3 million generated by last year's stage.
"A live worldwide television audience has seen what makes Devon so special. It has shown the county at its best as the premier destination for cycling."
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