Jonathan Tiernan-Locke’s phenomenal February gives him an early lead in the UCI Europe Tour
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke’s phenomenal February gives him an early lead in the UCI Europe Tour

by Ben Atkins at 8:17 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Méditerranéen and Haut-Var victories put British rider far ahead in the season’s first ranking

jonathan tiernan-lockeVictories in the Tour Méditerranéen and Tour du Haut-Var earlier in the month have given British rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing) an early lead in the International Cycling Union (UCI) Europe Tour rankings. The 27-year-old, who switched teams from Rapha Condor-Sharp in the winter has accumulated a total of 222 points, giving him a huge lead over second placed Jérôme Coppel (Saur-Sojasun), who has 139; ever-aggressive Estonian Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) currently sits in third on 105.

While ‘JTL’ will be a new face to many, he is actually in his second career; he was racing with small French team CC Etupes back in 2005, when his season was brought to an abrupt end by Epstein-Barr virus; he then completed a three-year degree course before returning to the British peloton in 2009.

“It’s actually been a bit annoying, folks saying that I’ve come from nowhere, I had good results before I had the illness,” he said.

It would have been easy to write off his Méditerranéen victory as lucky, since most of the stages were shortened by snow - particularly the final day, which was to finish at the top of Mont Faron - but his victory in Haut-Var less than two weeks later confirmed that there was more to it than that.

Coppel’s victory in the Etoile de Bessèges, as well as his third place in the Vuelta a Andalucía - Ruta del Sol - are what earn him his second place in the rankings, while Taaramäe’s third and second places in the same races put him into third.

Despite Tiernan-Locke’s dominance of the individual ranking, it is the strength in depth of Coppel’s Saur-Sojasun team that puts it at the top. This is mostly thanks to the Julien Simon and Jérémie Galland, who were third in Haut Var, and fourth in the French season-opening Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise, respectively.

Unsurprisingly, the performances of Saur-Sojasun riders - as well as a number of others, including Marseillaise winner Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) - has put France ahead in the national rankings at this early stage.

UCI Europe Tour ranking Feb 25th, 2012
1. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (GBr) Endura Racing 222pts
2. Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun 139
3. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Cofidis 105
4. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis 84
5. Daniele Colli (Ita) Team Type 1-Sanofi 83
6. Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller 80
7. Julien El Fares (Fra) Team Type 1-Sanofi 78
8. Franck Vermeulen (Fra) Véranda Rideau-Super U 69
9. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 64
10. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col) Androni Giocattoli 59

Team ranking
1. Saur-Sojasun (Fra) 288pts
2. Endura Racing (GBr) 275
3. Cofidis (Fra) 205
4. Team Type 1-Sanofi (USA) 178
5. Team Europcar (Fra) 139

National ranking
1. France 755pts
2. Italy 449
3. Germany 395
4. Great Britain 269
5. Netherlands 262

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