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Lövkvist happy in white

Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia)

Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia) (Image credit: Gregor Brown)

By Shane Stokes

Team Columbia's Thomas Lövkvist took over the lead of the best young rider classification in Tuesday's stage four time trial, and the bunch finish ensured that he retains the white jersey going into the first mountain stage.

He was mentioned by Andy Schleck before the race as a rival for that classification, and would like to take it all the way to the end of the Tour if it is possible.

"I am very happy with the jersey," he told Cyclingnews at the start of stage five. "It is a great thing, I have never been in a jersey in a Grand Tour before, so it is very nice. I will try to keep it as long as possible, until Paris if I can. But it is a long Tour and there are a lot of good riders here, so it will be hard. I will do what I can and see where it is going to take me."

He feels that team-mate Kim Kirchen has a strong opportunity to take the yellow jersey at Super Besse, and could also be in the fight for the final overall victory.

"I think Kirchen has a very good chance, it [Super Besse] is a very good climb for him. It has a small dip at the end and then the last kilometre is uphill. I think he will be a very strong contender for that.

"As regards the overall, everything is possible. He climbs very well and now he time trials super-good too. Everything is possible and we have great faith in him."

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