Cycling: ‘Magnifique’ Graham Briggs becomes first Brit to win Tour du Loire et Cher

Graham Briggs
Graham Briggs

Rossington pro-cyclist Graham Briggs this week became the first ever British winner of the Tour du Loire et Cher.

The Rapha Condor JLT racer won Stage Three of the highly competitive five-day French event and successfully defended his lead to the finish on Sunday.

For Briggs, 30, the prestigious victory caps an excellent start to the season.

And, considering the international quality of the opposition, the win is comfortably his best since claiming the 2012 Elite Circuit Series title.

“I knew that I was going well, and I’ve been close to taking some big wins already this season,” said Briggs.

“I came here not expecting to win the overall but wanting to make sure that I got the most out of my form.

“Winning a stage was great, but I am over the moon to take the overall of a race like this.”

Briggs took the initiative on day three, choosing to attack early on the 208km stage and seeing off the challenge of two breakaway companions.

After two Rapha Condor teammates had crashed out, his three teammates saw him home.

“One of the riders I was with was fourteen minutes down so I knew I only had one rider to worry about,” said Briggs, on his stage three surge.

“I knew that I was the strongest of the three of us, and I ended up taking the stage and yellow too.

“Stage four was really hard with only three guys to ride.

“But we’ve shown we’re all going really well at the moment, and they dug really deep for me.”