Lövkvist becomes Giro's accidental leader

Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia - Highroad) leads

Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia - Highroad) leads (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia-Highroad) leads the Giro d'Italia heading into today's stage five, but the Swede had actually intended on putting team-mate Michael Rogers in the maglia rosa. Lövkvist is hopeful he'll be able to keep the leader's jersey for at least another day.

"I was working for Mick [Michael Rogers] and trying to keep him in a good position on the final climb," Lövkvist said. "But when [other riders] crashed in front of Mick, I avoided it and just followed the wheels. It would have been either him or me in the lead.

"The important thing was that the team got the jersey," he added. "I don't know if I'll keep the lead, but everything's possible. I felt good on this climb and tomorrow's another mountain top finish. We'll see if I'm there at the finish."

Team-mate Mark Cavendish has lost the race leader's jersey a day earlier. The Manxman crashed in the final kilometres of stage three, putting a gap between him and the lead group.

Lövkvist has enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2009, having won the 3rd Montepaschi Strade Bianche - Eroica Toscana in March. The rider hopes to complete this year's entire Giro en route to his best professional season to date.

"I'm progressing every year, and hopefully this will be my best year ever," he said. "When I get to Rome, we'll see how far I have gotten. Of course I've won races before, but to be in the pink jersey is one of the best moments so far of my career."

Lövkvist is also leading the Best Young Riders competition, while Columbia-Highroad is in the number one spot in the teams prize.

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