Britain’s Jon Tiernan-Locke has won the prestigious Tour of the Mediterranean.
Tiernan-Locke, who rides for the Scottish-based UCI Continental squad, Endura Racing, rode away from a peloton filled with WorldTour teams on the Col de Garde to win his second stage of the four-stage race and clinch overall victory.
The Plymouth rider was delivered to the foot of the race-closing climb by his Endura Racing teammates, and went on the attack, winning by 17 seconds from Daniel Navarro (Saxo Bank), who rode in support of Alberto Contador at the 2010 and 2011 Tours de France, and Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone), winner of the Giro d’Italia in 2000.
“I was a bit nervous this morning, but it all went to plan today and the team did a great job keeping me in the right place to go for it at the end. We had to fight hard to keep out of trouble at the front of the bunch all day and at the bottom of the climb I was where I needed to be, so just went for it,” he said.
Tiernan-Locke started the day ten seconds adrift of yellow jersey, Michel Kreder (Garmin-Barracuda), who had won the second and third stages.
Endura Racing’s directeur-sportif, Julian Wynn, said the final stage had unfolded as planned.
“Jon told us what he wanted from the team and what he could do today, but saying it and doing it are two very different things and to deliver as he did, shows remarkable ability – the mark of a champion”
Heavy snow closed the roads to the planned finish on Mont Faron, reducing the length of the final stage to 77km. Endura Racing remained vigilant during repeated attacks, reeling in the French rider, Johan Le Bon (Bretagne-Schuler), within the last 10km to set up Tiernan-Locke for his race-winning attack.
“The lads turned themselves inside out to keep Jon out of trouble and to bring him into a great position for the final climb. We were a bit disappointed when we heard that Mt Faron was being cut out as that climb suits him, but he finished an amazing performance. No-one could catch him when he took off!” said Wynn.
The Endura Racing squad will remain in France for the Tour du Haut-Var, which begins in Draguignan on Saturday (18).
Tour of the Mediterranean stage four
1) Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (GBR) – Endura Racing -1:54:05
2) Daniel Navarro (SPA) – Team Saxo Bank +17”
3) Stefano Garzelli (ITA) – Acqua & Sapone
4) Angel Madrazo (SPA) – Movistar Team + 22”
5) Nicki Sorensen (DEN) – Team Saxo Bank + 27”
6) Laurent Mangel (FRA) Saur – Sojasun
7) Julien El Fares (Fra) Team Type 1 – Sanofi
8) Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
9) Thibault Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
10) Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team
Final general classification
1) Jon Tiernan-Locke (GBR) Endura Racing
2) Michel Kreder (NED) Garmin-Barracuda + 27”
3. Daniel Navarro (SPA) Saxo Bank + 31”
4. Stefano Garzelli (ITA) Acqua & Sapone + 33”
5. Angel Madrazo (SPA) Movistar + 42”
6. Romain Hardy (FRA) Bretagne-Schuller + 47”
7. Francesco Gavazzi (ITA) Astana
8. Fabrice Jeandesboz (FRA) Saur-Sojasun
9. Rinaldo Nocentini (ITA) Ag2r La Mondiale
10. Andrey Amador (CR) Movistar at same time