London - Englishman Jonathan Tiernan-Locke rode into the overall lead on the Tour of Britain on Friday thanks to an agressive showing in the sixth stage in Wales, which was won by Leopold Koenig of the Czech Republic.
Tiernan-Locke, of the Endura Racing team, came second behind Team NetApp rider Koenig on the 189.8km ride from Welshpool to Caerphilly and takes the leader's gold jersey from Australia's Leigh Howard with two stages remaining.
The 27-year-old from Plymouth, who is rumoured to be joining Team Sky for next year and has been named in the British team for next week's road World Championships, began the day in sixth place, 24 seconds behind Howard, of Orica-GreenEdge.
But now Tiernan-Locke, who received a six-second time bonus for placing second, has a 13-second lead over Howard going into Saturday's seventh stage from Barnstaple to Dartmouth.
"That was always going to be the decisive day today, such a sharp climb twice," Tiernan-Locke told British television station ITV4.
"It was a tough one. I'm relieved to get across the line with a gap still. A stage win would've been nice, but I had company and I got a bit of work shared.
"I was happy to let the stage win slip by. The overall is the main goal this year. We're going to try and not let it (the gold jersey) go now."
Tiernan-Locke believes Garmin-Sharp's Nathan Haas, who took third place in a sprint for the line, is now his biggest rival in the general classification, but he will aim to enhance his advantage on Saturday in a part of the country he knows well.
"It's going to be great," he said. "I'm counting on a lot of support there. I'm sure it's going to be amazing."
Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins was a non-starter in Welshpool because of illness after an eventful fifth stage to Stoke-on-Trent for Team Sky, which saw Mark Cavendish relinquish the race lead to Howard.
Wiggins will now focus on recovering in time for the road World Championships.
The eight-stage Tour of Britain finishes in Guildford, Surrey, on Sunday.