Thomas Lovkvist (IAM Cycling) moves himself up the GC standings with a solid ride at Mount Faron
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Fresh-faced IAM Cycling upstage established ProTeams in France
It's been a few years between victory celebrations for former Sky Procycling rider Thomas Löfkvist - who signed for the Professional Continental squad IAM Cycling at the end of 2012 and promptly went about winning the Tour Méditerranéen Cycliste Professionnel at the weekend.
Löfkvist started the final 192km stage in third-overall with his performance into the finishing town of Grasse enough to overhaul former leader Maxime Monfort (RadioShack Leopard) for the final victory. Löfkvist's ride on Stage 5 was just enough to push Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale) into second-place, with Francesco Reda (Androni) and Maxime Monfort (RadioShack Leopard) falling to second and third respectively.
The move to the newly-established Professional Continental outfit has clearly done wonders for Löfkvist who's most recent win came in a stage of the 2009 Sachsen Tour.
"I am very happy, I felt good all week and I knew we could do something about this race," said Löfkvist on his team site.
"I have to thank my teammates for their work, I was impressed by the speed with which we found ourselves as a team on the road, it is not always easy for a new group, but there is went better and better every day.
"The first thing I had in mind after crossing the line? ‘Finally!'.
"This morning, I knew that the stage would be difficult and that we would need to have a very good strategy to win the race.
"I waited quite a long time for this and it is a real satisfaction," said Löfkvist.
The week-long tour tops off perfect beginning to the upstart squad that opened the season at the recent Tour of Qatar, where teammate Heinrich Haussler was busy building for his spring classics campaign. The Pro Continental squad received the good news last year that it had attracted invitations to the spring classic races Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne where Haussler will hope to perform to the level he's demonstrated in the past.
Meanwhile the Tour of Oman, which starts today is also on the agenda for the Swiss team.