Talkingshop: Endura Racing’s Jon Tiernan-Locke

King of the Mountains in 2011, Jon Tiernan-Locke of Endura Racing has his eyes on the GC in this year’s Tour of Britain.

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

RELATED LINK: Endura Racing’s team for the 2012 Tour of Britain

Jon Tiernan-Locke made a big splash this year by winning a few French early season classics including the Tour of the Med and is in the process of finalising a contract with a World Tour team for 2013 which all helps to add to the motivation to do well in this year’s Tour of Britain.

It is a dream come true for Jon who admits that he has raced riders now riding for World Tour teams and knew he was capable of doing better. His wins in Tour of the Med and Haut Var to name but two, have opened doors for him and presented opportunities that he wouldn’t of dreamed of being possible at the start of the season.

When VeloUK spoke to Jon yesterday (Monday), he was still in recovery mode after the tough mountainous Endura Racing training camp at altitude in Spain. Being a climber, I put it to Jon it was ideal terrain for him to prepare with. The answer was a surprise.

“The hills in the Tour of Britain compared to the mountains we race and train over are nothing, just short steep climbs, so it may have been better to do some of that instead but I think the camp was more about getting everyone together and seeing who was going well. Training as a unit and getting away from the distractions back home and for that , it was good.”

As well as the team training camp, Jon also put in a big block of training on his own and one of those days was based around the Dartmoor stage. “I know the area pretty well but had never put all the climbs together in the stage order and it’s going to be a tough finale on that stage.”

Before they get to Dartmoor though, the day before they have to climb Caerphilly mountain twice before they finish and this could be the stage that the first moves are made to win the overall. It was a stage that Jon did well in last year despite making a few mistakes.

“Last year I started way too far back as we approached Caerphilly mountain and it took me halfway up the climb to zig zag through all the guys going backwards and by that time, Cummings (Steve) and co were already 100 metres ahead. It took me to the top to get past everyone. If I position myself better and with a couple of laps, I think the gaps will be bigger. The level of all the people in a race with no time trials or summit finishes means the gaps on the GC are going to be very little at that point so days like that are crucial.”

Flashback! Jon Tiernan-Locke is chased by the rider who finished the 2011 Tour of Britain in second overall, Steve Cummings on Caerphilly mountain.

“I think the finish is only a few k away from the top of Caerphilly mountain and after a few laps of that, there shouldn’t be many big groups crossing the line together!”

The day after the Caerphilly mountain stage, is the one from Barnstaple to Dartmouth over Dartmoor and that stage too could be crucial and there would be no where better for Jon to make his mark on the race.

“All the profiles look quite hard for the Tour but many of them have straight forward runs in but if there are still questions over the GC before stage 7, the Devon stage could shake things up.”

“A strong team is capable of controlling a race over all sorts of terrain but on the Devon stage, inside the last eight kilometres, there are two five minute climbs and a 25% very steep descent to the finish and you can’t control that so it will be up to individuals to respond to attacks.”

Jon explained that he’s performed well in the Tour of Britain the last two years. In 2010, he missed an important move and lost a lot of time while in 2011, when he got the King of the Mountains jersey, that became the focus for him and his team. After a lot of racing this year at a high level, Jon is more confident that the GC is certainly a worthwhile target to go for.

“This year, because I have raced at that level a lot more, it’s no longer an unknown. I think it’s realistic to aim for the GC and I have shown I can handle that responsibility now. I don’t crack under pressure and have a delivered for the team a few times this year already”.

Tour of the Med… a big race to win and that’s what Jon did in 2012. Can he repeat that in the Tour of Britain. 

Asked how he feels the pressure of expectation will differ between the Tour of the Med and the Tour of Britain, he says “in the Tour of Med, I had loads of pressure on myself for that race because I knew I could do something. I had looked at the profiles of the stage and thought ‘right, I could do something despite Mont Faron not being there’.”

“But no-one else really did know that except for perhaps a few guys in the team. The pressure was from myself and I was really nervous but the Tour of Britain is bit different now because everyone is now saying, I could do something on GC here so it’s not just pressure from me, but everyone else as well.”

Asked what the key will be to doing well on the GC, Jon replied “I can see a few big breaks going up the road in the race and it’s about being attentive and going with those. The GC may not be decided right up until the second last day but for sure there will be other moves which if you’re not in, you could lose the Tour. It isn’t so much about winning stages on your own but not losing time.”

After two training camps in quick succession, Jon is having an easyish week now having already done the hard work and will then have a few hits out at the end of the week prior to lining up in Ipswich next Sunday. Good luck to Jon and Endura Racing in Britain’s biggest professional cycle race ….

Link: The Tour of Britain VeloUK Home Page

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: , , ,