Britain’s Jon Tiernan-Locke continued his superb start to the season by winning the Tour du Haut Var.
The Plymouth rider attacked with a kilometre remaining of the UCI 2.1 category race to win the closing stage and clinch overall victory.
It marks his second overall victory in his opening two races for Endura Racing. Two stage wins earlier this month placed him on the top step of the final podium at the Tour of the Mediterranean. Tiernan-Locke said the terrain of the Haut Var had suited him perfectly.
“I could actually enjoy it because at the Tour Méditerranéen I felt a lot of pressure, but here I was confident coming into the race that I could actually win this and I could relax a bit,” said Tiernan-Locke.
“To be honest I’m quite glad I didn’t win [on stage one] even though I thought it might be my only chance.”
Tiernan-Locke attacked on the final climb, passing a leading group of four riders on the ascent to Freyence, and outsprinting Julian El Fares (Team-Type 1) and Julian Simon (Saur-Sojasun) to the line.
“I knew I could probably win this,” added Tiernan-Locke. “I struggled on the fast bits but when it became a slogfest I knew I would be strong, plus of course I knew I would have some strong team mates up with me looking after me. They did a great job. I’m so happy that my form has come good this early.”
A depleted Endura Racing squad of six riders stayed at the head of a peloton containing World Tour teams to set-up Tiernan-Locke’s decisive attack. Director sportif, Julian Winn, described his team’s ride as “unbelievable”.
“We were a man down to start, and then Alex was ill early on so we were down to six,” said Winn. “The five that were with Jon, really stepped up and I think they did a tremendous job. I am really speechless with regards to Jon, that was incredible, he’s just put himself into a completely different league.
“The team should all be proud of what they did. Rob Partridge and Ian Bibby did some awesome riding for him closing the gaps, it’s just amazing, been an incredible start to the season – JTL has now established himself as a major player and put Endura firmly on the map.”
Tour du Haut Var stage two
1) Jonathan Tiernan-Lock (GBR) Endura Racing – 5:23:13
2) Julien El Fares (FRA) – Team Type 1Sanofi + 1″
3) Julien Simon (FRA) – SaurSojasun + 4″
4) Jonathan Hivert (FRA) – SaurSojasun +11″
5) Simon Clarke (AUS) – Greenedge Cycling Team +13″
6) Pierrick Fedrigo (FRA) – FDJ-Big Mat +19″
7) Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE) – Astana Pro Team
8) Maxime Bouet (FRA) – AG2R La Mondiale
9) Christophe Le Mevel (FRA) – Garmin-Barracuda
10) Romain Hardy (FRA) – BretagneSchuller
1) Jonathan Tiernan-Lock (GBR) – Endura Racing +10:10:29
2) Julien El Fares (FRA) – Team Type 1 Sanofi +6″
3) Julien Simon (FRA) – Saur-Sojasun +9″
4) Romain Hardy (FRA) – Bretagne Schuller +13″
5) Simon Clarke (AUS) – Greenedge Cycling Team +18″
6) Jonathan Hivert (FRA) – Saur-Sojasun + 20″
7) Christophe Le Mevel (FRA) – Garmin-Barracuda + 24″
8) Maxime Bouet (FRA) – AG2R La Mondiale +28″
9) Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE) – Astana Pro Team
10) Pierrick Fedrigo (FRA) – FDJ-Big Mat