Mark Cavendish ended his reign as world champion with a gutsy ride that cemented his reputation as a perfect team mate on Sunday.
The defending world road race champion put in a tremendous stint for his British team-mates, controlling the pace of the peloton for around 100km after 11 riders established a break before retiring through exhaustion with 110km to go.
Cavendish's work allowed Tiernan-Locke in particular, among his team-mates, the chance to conserve energy by riding in the peloton.
In the end, he finished 19th, five seconds adrift as Belgium's Philippe Gilbert produced a scintillating burst of speed to win the race in Holland.
Cavendish said he appreciated the send-off as he closed out a year in the rainbow jersey.
‘It was really nice — incredible. I had goose bumps on it actually,’ he said.
But Cavendish nearly didn’t make it to the bus. One fan earlier in the race nearly hit him with a sign advertising a Maastricht bar.
‘It hit me — just some d***head with this wooden sign. The thing went into my head, this proper full on wooden sign. I got a sore neck from it, actually,’ said Cavendish. ‘[A lap later] I had my bottle ready. I was like, ‘I’ll get him,’ but the camera was on me.’