Andy Whitehouse caught up with Jonathan Tiernan Locke at the recent Tour of Britain route announcement, where the Endura climbing specialist gave his verdict on a tough 2012 route.
Above: Tiernan Locke in action at the Tour du Haut Var (Image: Joolze Dymond)
“I was nervous watching the route, it’s like I'm racing it today,” said Tiernan-Locke, who currently leads the UCI Europe Tour rankings. Tiernan Locke continued, “I'm struggling to see an easy day on the route. The first day will be deceptive I think, it won't be easy and the roads on the Devon stage, which I know really well will be tough. There aren't the mountains like in France but if you look at the altitude we climb that day in Devon, it will be like a mountain stage only broken up into smaller climbs but the intensity will be just the same.”
“The nice thing for us is to show that we can compete with bigger teams even though we have less resources.” said Tiernan Locke, whose season thus far has been exceptional, with wins in the Tour Méditerranéen, Tour du Haut Var and a second place in the Vuelta a Murcia. Tiernan Locke’s personal victories are set against the backdrop of a successful early season for the rest of the Endura squad, with wins for Russell Downing at Eddie Soens and two wins for Alexandre Blain in the Dengie Marshes and CiCLE Classic.
Tiernan-Locke was one of the star turns of the 2011 Tour of Britain, winning the King of the Mountains prize and a swathe of new fans in the process. However, the rider is mindful of the unpredictability of the race and the fact that all eyes will be on him when the tarmac turns skyward. “The great thing in the Tour of Britain is the unpredictability on any day, you can look at the route and think it’s a sprinters day but with the smaller teams things can work out a lot different to what you had planned. With winning the KOM jersey last year means I will be a marked man and will be on a tighter leash”.