Jon Tiernan Locke Interview: Tour of the Med winner talks about career thus far
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jon Tiernan Locke Interview: Tour of the Med winner talks about career thus far

by Ed Hood at 6:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
Bright future ahead for Endura Racing rider

Jon Tiernan LockeAnyone who thought that Englishman Jon Tiernan-Locke’s top six GC placing and King of the Mountains win in the 2011 Tour of Britain was a freak result had their eyes opened over the weekend when the 27 year-old from Plymouth won the first stage, fourth stage and GC in the Tour of the Mediterranean – a race dating back to 1974 and which boasts Eddy Merckx as one of its winners.

Tiernan-Locke’s pro debut came with UK team Plowman Craven in 2009 with some strong UK results indicating that he was on the way back after a debilitating illness which compromised his amateur career.

For 2010 he was with another UK team, Rapha Condor Sharp, winning a stage in Ireland’s Rás and taking tenth overall in the tough Mi Aout Bretonne stage race in France.

His second year with Rapha provided his break through results – there was sixth place in the Tour of South Africa, fourth place in the Tour of Korea plus a stage win and second on GC in the Vuelta Ciclista a Leon.

But it was his Tour of Britain results which had jaws dropping; top six on GC - in a field which contained many Pro Tour big guns – and victory in the King of the Mountains competition.

Transferring to Scottish Continental team Endura for 2012, the start to his season could hardly have been better with his Tour of the Mediterranean showing blowing away the other riders.

VeloNation spoke to the newest climbing sensation on the circuit soon after his stage win on Col de Garde, which also sealed the overall win.

VeloNation: What were your expectations going in to the Tour of The Med, Jon?

Jon Tiernan-Locke: Coming into the race I knew my form was good and I was really motivated for the final stage to Mt Faron.

I knew that would likely sort the GC too, so the aim was to not lose time until then. I was confident in being amongst the best on the climb.

VN: Hutarovich - a quick guy to beat in stage one…

JTL: That's because it wasn't a sprint - I cleared off with three kilometres to go and just held off the sprinters! I know Hutarovich well though, as we were team mates and shared an apartment in 2004 - it was good to see him again.

VN: The weather appeared grim - how did you cope with that?

JTL: It actually wasn't that bad; yeah the route was changed, but where we raced was free from ice. I had a decent pair of Endura gloves on so the cold was no issue.

VN: What was the plan on stages two and three?

JTL: Quite simply to stay near the front, out of trouble, and to not lose any time.

VN: Was it always the plan to 'go for it' on stage four?

JTL: Yeah, of course - the stage and GC would go together, so stage four was always going to be crucial.

VN: The Endura team seems to have gelled really well already…

JTL: Definitely we had a training camp in Majorca the other week and there were no egos or any kind of issues, we just got on.

VN: Garzelli was a big scalp to take on that stage four hill top finish…

JTL: Yeah I guess that adds something to the result, although I'm not one to get star struck. I knew I had the legs to just ride my own climb.

VN: Back in 2005, you were third in the Boucles Catalan, then the palmares 'stopped.’ Why is that?

JTL: Actually I had better results than that then, but yes, shortly after that I stopped. I got mononucleosis and it just wasted me, so I came home and didn't touch a bike for about 3 years.

VN: Tell us about your time at UV Aube and CC Etupes.

JTL: UV Aube was my first racing team, and I literally knew nothing about racing then. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but it was actually a really good team and my race programme was better than a lot of 'Continental' ranked teams have now.

Looking back, I needed some guidance then, and I'm certain my cycling career would have flourished earlier!

As for CC Etupes, I was only there a couple of months. I won them their first race of the season though, it was a good one, but my time there was cut short through illness.

VN: In 2010 you have gave heavy hints that you were on the way back, with tenth in the Mi Aout and a stage win in the Ras.

JTL: I wouldn't say tenth at Mi Aout is noteworthy, I won some other races too, but yeah, it was the year I cycled full time again.

I still wasn't living like a cyclist should, though.

VN: Would you say your stage win and second on GC in Leon were your breakthrough results in 2011?

JTL: I suppose they were, but that's only because they were the opportunities I had to do so.

I also had good results elsewhere, but people don't notice races in Asia and Africa, so it was my last two UCI races in Europe that stood out.

VN: Tell us about the Tour of Britain…top six and King of the Mountains - that shocked a few.

JTL: Only those who didn't know me. It was the both the biggest race of the year for us, and the last, so although I lacked racing days, I tailored my training to be good there.

In hindsight I think more was possible from me, but to take a jersey away was a nice way to end the year.

Jon Tiernan LockeVN: What were the reasons for moving from Rapha to Endura?

JTL: The move to Endura was all about getting the chance to race a better programme. That's what I needed to prove my ability as a rider -I'm just not suited to the UK racing scene, and criteriums etc.

It's been very frustrating at times not being able to race where I can get a result, but that has changed now.

VN: How did things go in relation to your preparation for season 2012?

JTL: I spent November and most of December just doing medium to long hilly rides, and then from the new year on I added some intervals on the turbo trainer.

I knew I had some big races early season so I watched my weight over Christmas, and arrived at the training camp in good shape. It was more about specific efforts there, and some climbs to test the form.

I've not done anything special, just kept healthy and been consistent in training.

VN: Which races will you do now?

JTL: Haut Var, Murcia, some domestic races and then perhaps Coppi e Bartali...

VN: And what are the goals?

JTL: Just to stay healthy and not do too much. In the past I would always underestimate the importance of rest and train the same way year round. I was just turning myself into a diesel - not the way to win races.

Hopefully the good form continues and I can be up there in the other big races this spring.

VN: Did you ever get that Ducati you lusted after, a few years ago?

JTL: I did indeed, and I loved it...but it's always nice to have a new toy, so I've got something else now. Much easier on the legs!


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