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Jon Tiernan-Locke Wins Tour Méditerranéen
Jon Tiernan-Locke launched a devastating attack on the final climb of the Tour Méditerranéen today for a second stage victory and the overall classification in the UCI 2.1 French stage race.
Even before Jon's solo win into Peyreil on Thursday, the team's plan for the week was to deliver Jon safely to the foot of Mt Faron and launch him onto the steep, narrow climb in pursuit of overall victory. Although heavy overnight snow in the south of France led to a change in plans for the race organisers, who were forced to cut short the final stage, Jon and the team stuck to their plan and executed it brilliantly.
Earlier in the stage Johan Le Bon (Bretagne-Schuler) made a solo break at the 5km mark and managed to stay clear until just 10km to go where he was swept up on the final run in towards the climb of the Col du Corps de Gard. Jon enjoyed the support of him team mates to help maintain a good position within the bunch throughout the stage and as the road turned upwards, he attacked decisively, quickly opening up a gap which he maintained until he hit the improvised finishing line at the top the Col.
Jon's margin of victory on the stage was 17 seconds over Daniel Navarro (Saxo Bank) and Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) and with time bonuses he overhauled overnight leader Michel Kreder (Garmin-Barracuda) to secure overall victory by 27 seconds.
Jon becomes the first British rider to add his name to an illustrious list of Tour Méditerranéen winners, which includes luminaries such as Eddy Merckx, Gianni Bugno and Laurent Jalabert.
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.
Julian Winn, Directeur Sportif:
Today's stage went perfectly to plan. 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. 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!
The Endura Racing squad will remain in France this week before racing the Tour du Haut Var (UCI 2.1) next weekend.
Click here for results from Tour Méditerranéen.
Photos: Roberto Bettini | bettiniphoto.net