Jon Tiernan-Locke takes lead in Tour of Britain

With Endura Racing’s imminent merge with Netapp for 2013, there isn’t much time left for fans to enjoy watching the Scottish-backed outfit.

Today the team enjoyed what may turn out to be one of its best days racing ever, as JTL attacked to take the leader’s jersey in the increasingly popular Tour if Britain.

Here’s the news in full:

Endura Racing’s Jon Tiernan-Locke swept into the IG Markets Gold Jersey in the Tour of Britain today in Wales with an impressive display of climbing in the race’s Queen stage.

The Endura Racing team were instrumental in bringing back the break of the day, which had slipped clear early in the 190km stage from Welshpool to Caerphilly, and delivered the rider from Devon in exactly the right spot to launch his assault on the overall classification.

The six strong break – Backstedt (UK Youth), Bialoblocki (Node 4-Giordana), Briggs (Raleigh-GAC), Craven (IG-Sigma Sport), Ghyllebert (An Post-Sean Kelly) and House (Rapha Condor) – were swept up by the chase group on the lower slopes of Caerphilly Mountain and that was the cue for Jon to launch a blistering attack. He overhauled the last of the escapees just before the summit before Briggs managed to latch on to his wheel and the pair swept down the mountain together. Briggs dropped back as they headed to the second passage of the Mountain and at the same time, Leo König (Team NetApp) bridged up to Jon from the chaser group.

König jumped Tiernan-Locke with a few hundred metres to go and rode on to take the stage with Jon close behind in second. Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) led in the remains of the peloton some 18 seconds down on the winner. Jon’s gap over the bunch and the six second bonus gained for second place saw him assume the race lead with a 13 seconds gap to Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEDGE) and 18 seconds over Haas in third.

Saturday’s stage sees Jon defend his lead on his home roads in Devon over a gruelling 173km route from Barnstaple to Dartmouth. The stage starts at 10:15 GMT and will be shown live on ITV4 from 13:15 GMT.

Jon Tiernan-Locke:

The stage went almost exactly as we’d talked about this morning. As we headed into the last part of the stage, Jonny [McEvoy] and Russ [Downing] rode hard on the front before Paul [Voß] took me right start of the climb and I took it from there.

The descent off the top was tough as it’s not that fast and you have to pedal it, so I knew the bunch would be able to close the gap. Very happy with how the stage went and it’s going to be awesome to race in front of my home crowd tomorrow, but I’ve got to take some more time from those around me on GC.

Alex Sans Vega (Sporting Director):

The stage started just as we’d hoped for with a break going out early and they opened out a nice advantage over the peloton too which was ideal. When Sky came to the front over the Brecon Beacons climb the gap started to come down rapidly, but it also split the group so it was good that it regrouped again soon afterwards.

We then did our job exactly as planned and delivered Jon perfectly for the first passage of Caerphilly Mountain. He was just trying to force a selection, but went alone at first and worked really hard to get as much time as possible. So, a very positive day for us, although it was a huge shame to lose Zak in a crash as he’s been riding so well. The team is still really strong, so we’re looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday now.

Injury Update – Zak Dempster suffered a nasty crash on the run in to Caerphilly and was taken to a local hospital with a suspected broken collar bone. Fortunately there are no breaks and he was discharged after receiving treatment for a laceration to his elbow.

Photos by Larry Hickmott |