Thomas Löfkvist (Sky Procycling) was sitting one place shy of a top-10 result in the general classification coming into Sunday’s final stage of the Tour de Suisse from Näfels-Lintharena to Sörenberg. The 215.8km route featured no less than three major climbs and culminating with a category two up to the finishing in Sörenberg.
The mountain finish proved too much for Löfkvist who had developed knee trouble throughout the week and could not follow the front group. He was guided to the finish by his teammates Michael Barry and Lars Petter Nordhaug almost nine-minutes behind the stage winner, Tanel Kangert (Pro Team Astana).
"It looked good with Thomas until the last climb but he's just been struggling a bit with a knee problem and it was really hurting today," Team Sky's Sports Director Marcus Ljungqvist told the Team Sky website.
Löfkvist had slowly dropped down the classification after his disappointing ride in the stage 7 time trial where he finished in 30th-place and behind Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan).
"The rest of the team did exactly what was asked of them; it's just a real shame for Thomas and I feel sorry for him because he is in really good shape. He thought it was okay for today but it was too painful and it kind of stopped him," said Ljungqvist.
With the Tour de France just weeks away, Löfkvist will have to prove his preparation is still on track in order to be called into the nine-man squad which has multiple goals with Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish. It would be the sixth Tour start for the 28-year-old who understands that his own general classification ambitions will have to be put aside if the team is to achieve their ambitions of riding into Paris with both the yellow and green jerseys.