Tiernan-Locke ends Britain's wait for victory in home race
PLYMOUTH'S Jon Tiernan-Locke said his Tour of Britain win was 'fantastic'.
The 27-year-old from Derriford yesterday became the first British winner of the event in 19 years.
Tiernan-Locke had entered the final stage in Surrey 18 seconds ahead of nearest rival for the overall title, Nathan Haas, and 23 seconds better off than Italy's Damiano Caruso.
The Devonian ensured victory after finishing in the main bunch of riders behind Mark Cavendish, who claimed his third stage win on the cobbled streets of Guildford.
Tiernan-Locke, who competes for Endura Racing, will join up with last year's Tour of Britain champion Cavendish and his Sky team-mate and 2012's history-making Tour de France victor Bradley Wiggins in next week's World Road Race Championships.
The Plymothian will become part of the nine-man British team in Valkenburg, Netherlands in confident mood.
Tiernan-Locke rode a sensible final stage yesterday, keeping himself out of trouble to become the first home winner of the competition since Chris Lillywhite claimed the Milk Race title in 1993.
The city star admitted he has yet to come to terms with the scale of his achievement.
"It's fantastic," said the former Coombe Dean student, who is tipped to move to the high-profile and ultra-successful Team Sky at the end of the season. "It has not really sunk in yet – it was tough – a lot tougher than we thought.
"I feel relief more than anything."
His feeling of relief mixed with pride was shared by his parents Marysia and Christopher at their Derriford home.
The Tiernan-Lockes had gone to Dartmoor on Saturday where they stood with hundreds of others cheering on their son in the penultimate stage of the event which had started at Barnstaple and concluded at Dartmouth.
Mrs Tiernan-Locke told Herald Sport watching her son so close to the winner's podium had been 'very stressful'.
She said: "Naturally, we're all very proud of what Jon's achieved – pride and a good deal of relief now that it's confirmed he is champion.
"We knew he held a good lead going into the final stage in Surrey, but until it's all over and settled, you're never sure.
"We dashed up to Merrivale on the moors on Saturday just to catch a glimpse of him riding by and held up a message which read, 'Go JTL from Mum and Dad'. Then we hared back home to watch the rest of the race live on the TV.
"We're now looking forward to seeing how Jon performs in this Sunday's World Road Race Championships."
Tiernan-Locke had claimed the leader's gold jersey for the Devon leg of the series after rising from sixth to first on the back of his aggressive runners-up performance in the sixth stage in Wales.