DEVONIAN Jonathan Tiernan-Locke looks poised to complete a move to Team Sky this week after becoming the first homegrown winner of the Tour of Britain for 20 years yesterday in Surrey.
Tiernan-Locke finished in the main pack to preserve his 18-second lead as fellow Briton Mark Cavendish, who is set to leave Team Sky, sprinted to victory in the final stage finish in Guildford.
The 27-year-old Endura Racing rider had moved into the lead on Friday and stayed out of trouble to maintain his advantage over Australian Nathan Haas, of Garmin, and Italian Damian Caruso, of Liquigas.
He has been linked with an imminent switch to big-spending Team Sky, home to some of the country's finest talent in Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, and admitted his future would soon be settled.
"There are some details to sort out," said Tiernan-Locke, the first British winner of the Tour since Max Sciandri in 1992. "It's not for me to say yet, but it will be days."
His next challenge is to ride for Great Britain at the World Road Championships in Holland this week, where his boss will be Dave Brailsford, also Team Sky's mastermind, who has been impressed by Tiernan-Locke.
"We have been impressed with Tiernan-Locke for a long time and now he is confirming his talent," said Brailsford. "His obvious next step is to test that talent on a bigger stage and I am sure that is what will happen."
Cavendish took his third stage win on his last appearance in the road race World Champion's rainbow jersey - and in all probability his farewell outing for Team Sky, with an amicable parting being finalised.
"It was my last day in the rainbow jersey and I wanted to finish it off in style," said Cavendish, who will defend his title on Sunday. "It was absolutely incredible. The amount of people out on the road has been like the Olympic Games."
In a good-natured nod to colleague Wiggins, who followed Tour de France glory with Olympic road time trial gold this summer, he added: "I thought I'd been forgotten about and everyone was about sideburns now."