Maxime Monfort moved into the lead at the Tour Méditerranéen with a measured performance on the final climb of Mont Faron on stage 4. The Belgian all-rounder finished in 17 postion on the stage, 54 seconds behind stage winner Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale), but after his solid ride in the stage 2 time trial, Monfort edged ahead of previous race leader, Lars Boom (Blanco) by one second.
“I felt no panic when Peraud attacked,” Monfort said.
“I had studied the GC very well with (director Jose) Azevedo last night. I knew he would never take one minute on me. We were well prepared. The only thing not foreseen was that I had a very bad day today. But I gave everything I had. It was a fight within myself the last two, three kilometres. It was a TT for me. Thanks go to my teammates who worked all day for me. Thomas Rohregger was the last guy with me until 2k from the top and then it was up to me. Just at that moment Boom was dropped.”
Monfort, who’s last overall victory in a stage race came in the 2010 Bayern Rundfahrt, will look to defend his Med lead on Sunday’s final stage.
Team director José Azevedo added: “Now we will defend this jersey tomorrow in a hard stage. It won’t be easy. We only have six riders as Robert Kišerlovski was sick and didn’t start today. If a lot of riders survive the climb of Tanneron we might be lucky that the sprinters’ teams will work. Otherwise it will be up to us alone.”