Tour of Britain: Jonathan Tiernan-Locke wins race

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has become the first British rider to win the Tour of Britain in 19 years.

The Endura Racing star, who led by 18 seconds going into Sunday's final stage, finished in the main bunch to secure the overall race victory.

Team Sky's Mark Cavendish won the eighth and final stage, sprinting clear on the cobbled streets of Guildford.

"It was my last day in the [world champion's] rainbow jersey and I wanted to finish it off in style," he said.

Cavendish, who became Britain's first road race world champion in more than 40 years when he won the title in Denmark last year, will defend his title in the Netherlands on Sunday.

The hilly Dutch terrain may not suit the sprinter, but he showed he is a decent climber on the final stage of the Tour of Britain, negotiating gradients of 20% to keep himself in contention to contest the final sprint.

The Manxman powered away from the field in the closing 200m.

Tiernan-Locke, who will join Cavendish in a nine-man British team at next week's World Championships, rode a sensible final stage, keeping himself out of trouble to become the first home winner of the race since Chris Lillywhite's Milk Race triumph in 1993.

"It's fantastic," said the 27-year-old, who has been linked with a move to Team Sky at the end of the season.

"It has not really sunk in yet. It was a tough day, a lot tougher than we thought. So I feel relief more than anything."

Australia's Nathan Haas, who rides for Garmin, finished second overall, 18 seconds behind Tiernan-Locke with Italy's Liquigas rider Damiano Caruso third.

Peter Williams and Kristian House won the sprint and king of the mountains titles respectively, while Dutchman Boy van Poppel claimed the overall points jersey ahead of second-placed Cavendish.

Williams, who got himself in a four-man break on the final stage, won the three intermediate sprints to pick up nine points and finish on 45, almost twice as many as the second-placed rider, his Node 4 Giordana team-mate Marcin Bialoblocki.

The break was brought back 45km from the finish line on the fourth and final climb of the day, Barhatch Lane.

Australia's Jack Bobridge, among the quartet of escapees, tried to break clear again with 30km remaining but was unable to build an advantage of more than 30 seconds and was caught with 13km remaining.

Team Sky marshalled the peloton, riding a steady tempo and nullifying several riders' attempts to break clear in the closing stages.

Cavendish was roared to victory by thousands of fans.

"It was absolutely incredible," he said. "The amount of people out on the road has been like the Olympic Games. I thought I'd been forgotten about and everyone was about sideburns now."

Stage Eight, Reigate to Guildford

1. Mark Cavendish, GB, Team Sky, three hours, 33 minutes, 05 seconds

2. Boy Van Poppel, Ned, United Healthcare, same time

3. Fabio Sabatini, Ita, Liquigas-Cannondale, same time

4. Russell Downing, GB, Endura Racing, +0:03

5. Cesare Benedetti, Ita, Team Netapp, same time

6. Yanto Barker, GB, UK Youth Cycling, same time

7. Pieter Ghyllebert, Bel, An Post Sean Kelly, same time

8. Bernard Sulzberger, Aus, Raleigh, same time

9. Niels Wytinck, Bel, An Post Sean Kelly, same time

10. Richard Lang, Aus, Rapha Condor, same time

Final Classification

1. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, GB, Endura Racing, 33:11:22

2. Nathan Haas, Aus, Garmin-Sharp +0:18

3. Damiano Caruso, Ita, Liquigas-Cannondale +0:23

4. Leigh Howard, Aus, Orica-GreenEDGE +1:02

5. Christopher Jones, US, UnitedHealthcare +1:12

6. Bartosz Huzarsku, Pol, Team NetApp +2:01

7. David Lelay, Fra, Saur Sojasun, same time

8. Boy Van Poppel, Ned, UnitedHealthcare +2:14

9. Christian Knees, Ger, Team Sky +2:35

10. Jerome Coppel, Fra, Saur Sojasun +4:30

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