Tiernan-Locke Wins 2012 Tour of Britain As Cavendish Wins Final Stage
Cavendish produced a trademark sprint finish on the uphill Guildford incline outside the capital to rack up his third stage victory of the tour ahead of next Sunday’s road race in the Netherlands. Cavendish beat Boy Van Poppel and Fabio Sabatini on the cobbled High Street.
Tiernan Locke finished safely within the main field to maintain his eighteen second advantage and become the first British winner of The Tour of Britain since Robert Millar took the 1989 Kellogg’s Tour.
The Endura Racing rider finished the week-long Tour eighteen seconds ahead of Team Garmin–Sharp’s Nathan Haas, with Liquigas–Cannondale’s Damiano Caruso a further five seconds back, completing the podium.
"It’s well clear of the other wins, right at the top for sure," Tiernan Locke explained, reflecting on his victory. "Not just because it’s The Tour of Britain but because of all the crowds and support it’s just been on another level."
The Tour of Britain’s first ever Surrey-based stage saw packed crowds across the 147-kilometer route heading into the Surrey Hills from Reigate. A four man break containing Williams, Wesley Kreder, Jack Bobridge and Simon Richardson, who claimed the final day’s Rouleur Combativity Award, moved clear for the first half of the race, but was pulled back before the final climb up Barhatch Lane.
Team NetApp and Caerphilly winner Leopold Koenig upped the pace and the peloton briefly split up, with two distinct groups forming in front of the main peloton group, the second of which included race leader Tiernan-Locke.
Samuel Sanchez, Liam Holohan and Bobridge then went away, with the Australian persevering for the longest, holding off the chasing peloton as the peloton made its way back towards Guildford.
The GreenEDGE rider was reeled in though, with Team Sky Procycling hitting the front to set up Mark Cavendish, with the Manxman jumping clear with around 100 meters to go on the cobbled uphill run to the line, in which he was never bettered.
"I really wanted to win here in Guildford," Cavendish explained after the stage finish. "I haven’t obviously got great memories of the results here from the Olympics but I’ve got great memories of the crowds here from the Olympics so I wanted to win here on the last stage in Guildford."
"It wasn’t an easy finish. It wasn’t just the last stage in The Tour of Britain - It was the last race for me in the rainbow jersey. The team were incredible, they supported me the whole day. The guys stayed in control and they gave it everything they had. I'm so proud of them," Cavendish added.
The first home winner of the Tour of Britain in 19 years was already looking forward to a battle to help Cavendish retain his world title.
“Whatever role I’m given I’m confident I can do a good job. The success of British cyclists has been a real inspiration,” Tiernan-Locke told Sky Sports.
Watch video highlights from all stages of the 2012 Tour of Britain in our videos section (U.S. only due to geo broadcast restrictions.