Swede Thomas Lövkvist of Columbia-Highroad took the biggest win in his career to date with Saturday's Eroica Toscana. He battled over 57 kilometres of gravel roads to finish ahead of German Fabian Wegmann in the famous Piazza del Campo of Siena, Italy.
"I took eighth last year in the same race, so I knew what to expect, but the gravel tracks haven't got any easier!" said Lövkvist after the 190 kilometre-race.
An escape of four marked the race, but Lövkvist entered into action at kilometre 170 with a group of favourites that included Andy Schleck, Daniele Bennati and Ryder Hesjedal. The race broke up on the final two kilometres, which included 16% gradients on the run up Via Santa Caterina.
Lövkvist's last win came in the Critérium International time trial two years ago. Last year, the 24-year-old finished the Deutschland Tour second overall and won the point's classification, and third overall in Tirreno-Adriatico.
"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."
Eroica Toscana was Lövkvist's second race of the season after the Tour of California. This week he will lead the USA team in Italy's Tirreno-Adriatico, March 11 to 17.
"But whatever happens in Tirreno, this win is a big bonus. It's the most important of my career so far."