Jonathan Tiernan-Locke admitted relief was the overriding emotion as he preserved his 18-second lead over the final stage of the Tour of Britain in Surrey today to become the first British winner of the event in 19 years.
Endura Racing's Tiernan-Locke kept out of trouble to come home ahead of Australia's Nathan Haas and Italy's Damiano Caruso.
The stage was won by Team Sky's Mark Cavendish, who sprinted to victory over Guildford's cobbled streets to send him into the Road World Championships next week in confident mood.
But Tiernan-Locke deserved his spot in the limelight today after emulating the home success last achieved by Chris Lillywhite in 1993.
The 27-year-old said: "It's fantastic.
"It has not really sunk in yet. It was a tough day, a lot tougher than we thought. So I feel relief more than anything."
Cavendish was roared to victory by thousands of fans on the sprint to the line in Surrey.
"It was my last day in the (world champion's) rainbow jersey and I wanted to finish it off in style," he said.
"It was absolutely incredible. The amount of people out on the road has been like the Olympic Games.
"I thought I'd been forgotten about and everyone was about sideburns now."