Lovkvist Wins 2009 Monte Paschi Eroica
Team Columbia-Highroad’s Thomas Lovkvist blasted to a superb victory in the gruelling Eroica Toscana one-day race in Italy on Saturday.
190 kilometres long, the Eroica race is run over a unique combination of gravel tracks, dirt roads and normal tarmacked roads. It can therefore only be won by riders who are both exceptional bike handlers, and exceptionally talented athletes.
Lovkvist’s win, his first for Columbia-Highroad and the tenth for the men's team in 2009, came from a late attack on the final climb to the centre of the town of Siena. The move powered him past Germany’s Linus Gerdemann for an emphatic lone victory.
Second behind Lovkvist was German Fabian Wegmann, four seconds back, with Swiss rider Martin Elmiger in third.
“I’ve never taken a one-day race before, previously my wins had always been in stage races.” the 24-year-old Lovkvist said. “That makes my victory here even more special than usual. I took eighth last year in the same race, so I knew what to expect, but the gravel tracks haven’t got any easier!”
The Swedish rider has come close to getting a big win in the past, so winning Eroica represents a real breakthrough in his career.
“I’ve been progressing, but slowly. Last year I had 25 top ten finishes, but I was lacking that little bit extra you need for a victory. In the future, I think I can do well not only in one-day races, but also week-long events like Tirreno-Adriatico, which is next on my program for 2009.”
“But whatever happens in Tirreno, this win is a big bonus. It’s the first for me in two years and the most important of my career so far.”
Team MILRAM's Fabian Wegmann just missed out on his first victory of the season. "That was a really strong team performance today,“ said Fabian Wegmann in thanking his teammates for their support. They took control of the race at kilometer 130 and increased the tempo, so that the peloton fell apart. "From then on we put our mark on the race, it was a really fantastic performance,“ said Jochen Hahn, who was serving as Team MILRAM's Directeur Sportif in Tuscany.
About 24 kilomters before the finish, a 15 rider strong leading group formed, including the three MILRAM riders Fabian Wegmann, Linus Gerdemann and Peter Velits. "We were a little lucky there and then could use some tactics,“ said Wegmann, and he and teammates took advantage of the situation and alternated attacks. Linus Gerdemann tried to make a decisive move ten kilometers before the finish. He had a lead of up to 15 seconds, but was caught again on the 300 meter long climb shortly before the finish in Siena.
Wegmann had already had the need for major team help during the race. After 140 kilometers he had a flat tire, exactly at the same time there was an attack out of the lead group. Since the team car was slow to come, Peter Wrolich gave up his bike. It took Wegmann another 20 kilometers to catch the leaders. "The form is good, and I am satisfied. The team's performance and results give the whole team confidence for more,“ said Wegmann, looking towards the next races. "You can see that this year it is a totally different team. The team is much more balanced and the guys form a good unit,“ praised Jochen Hahn.