SOUTH Devon's Jon Tiernan-Locke, the rising star of British cycling following two early-season wins in France, says he is staying with his new team Endura Racing despite offers from the sport’s “Premier League” ProTour squads.
Tiernan-Locke, 27, is one of the hottest properties in cycling after beating some major international stars in two prestigious events, the Tour Mediterranean and last weekend the Tour du Haut Var.
In the Haut Var, which finished up a one-in-four climb into the hillside town of Fayence, Tiernan-Locke launched a devastating attack which swept up a breakaway group of four riders on his way to the stage win and overall victory.
Speculation has been rife since his Tour Med win that Locke would be wanted by some of the big-budget European teams who found their riders in his wake, and Endura bosses have reported calls from interested rivals.
But Tiernan-Locke said: “I have had concrete offers to sign for ProTour teams now, and to ride at that level is, and always has been, my dream. But this is my first year with Endura, they have been looking after me and they have taken some steps to make sure I stay with the team.
“Their race programme is a really good one, and I’m grateful to Endura for this opportunity this year.
“Hopefully, if I can keep the results coming, it will be enough to sustain the interest of bigger teams.”
Tiernan-Locke, who started as a mountain bike rider in his teens, spent two years as a budding pro in France before a serious virus condition knocked him out of the sport for nearly three years.
He eventually recovered, completing a degree at Bristol University before resuming his cycle racing with Newton Abbot-based Mid-Devon CC/Colin Lewis Cycles.
After spells with several smaller UK teams, he rode for Rapha-Condor-Sharp last season, before moving to ambitious Endura during the winter on a one-year contract.
That transfer followed a highly successful 2011 season, with successes in South Africa, Korea, Spain and the UK. His campaign was highlighted by his performance in September’s Tour of Britain.
Tiernan-Locke dominated the King Of The Mountains competition, including a solo attack over Dartmoor on Stage Five, and eventually finished fifth overall.
The readers of Cycling Weekly, the sport’s leading UK magazine, voted him second in the Best British Rider category of their annual awards poll, beaten only by new world champion Mark Cavendish.