South Devon bike racer climbs to French race win
SOUTH Devon bike racer Jonathan Tiernan-Locke dominated the prestigious Tour Alsace in France at the weekend.
Locke, who is a professional with the Endura Racing squad, won the race overall, and also took the points and king of the mountains prizes.
He Tweeted: "Tour d'Alsace done and dusted! Thanks to the incredible and selfless work of my @enduraracing team mates. Proud of them today.
"No such thing as an easy day in yellow at the Tour d'Alsace but the boys kept it together on another scorching hot stage. Thanks chaps!"
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Locke is a member of the Newton Abbot-based Mid Devon CC and lives in the South Hams.
He clinched victory on Sunday's final stage which saw the peloton cover 157km from Ribeauvillé to Ballon d'Alsace - famously the first official mountain climb in the Tour de France in 1905.
There were four classified climbs on the route before finishing at the top of the the first category Ballon d'Alsace.
A large break went clear early in the stage, but none of the 19 riders posed a threat to Tiernan-Locke's 26 second overnight lead.
Endura Racing set about controlling the tempo of the bunch to keep the gap in check, while staying vigilant for late attacks.
The stage was won by Jonathan Fumeaux (Atlas Personal - Jakroo) who clipped clear from the break with Stian Remme (Joker - Media) and Daan Olivier (Rabobank Continental), before out-climbing them to the finish line.
Tiernan-Locke's final margin of victory was 26 seconds over Alexandr Pliuschin (Leopard - Trek) and his dominant performance was rewarded with the Points and King of the Mountains classifications.
He said: "The overall win was set up by Thursday's stage win which opened up some big time gaps in GC, but it was very pleasing to get another stage win on Saturday morning and then I followed that up with a solid performance in the time trial on Saturday night to keep my lead.
"The guys rode incredibly well today, with Erick there all day for me and closing down all the gaps. I'm looking forward to a couple of days here in France to recover before heading to Paris-Corrèze."
The team's sporting director Julian Winn added: "We're very pleased for Jon as he's had a tough spell with illness and injury since the spring and it was a strong performance throughout the race from the rest of the team too.
"Today saw the ideal situation develop for us, with a large group away with no threats to Jon's overall lead.
"The lads set about riding tempo and emptied themselves to take Jon to the bottom of the final climb, with Erick in particular doing a great job. It was very pleasing to watch, a perfect team performance really."