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3rd Montepaschi Strade Bianche - Eroica Toscana - 1.1

Italy, March 7, 2009

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Lövkvist leads Eroica's foreign front

By Gregor Brown

Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia-Highroad) wins the 3rd Eroica Toscana in Siena's Piazza del Campo
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Thomas Lövkvist won the 3rd Eroica Toscana Saturday in Siena, Italy. The Swede of Columbia-Highroad battled over 190 kilometres – 57.2 kilometres on gravel roads – to lead a foreign front into the city's Piazza del Campo ahead of German Fabian Wegmann (Milram) and Swiss Martin Elmiger (AG2R La Mondiale). Giovanni Visconti (ISD) was the highest placed Italian, in sixth.

Lövkvist claimed his first road win since the Critérium International time trial two years ago. He finished eighth in his first participation of Eroica last year.

"I've never taken a one-day race before, previously my wins had always been in stage races," the 24-year-old Lovkvist said. "That makes my victory here even more special than usual. I took eighth last year in the same race, so I knew what to expect, but the gravel tracks haven't got any easier!"

It is the third year for Organiser RCS Sport to the race held on le strade bianche and the third year that a home rider failed to win. Italy's Alessandro Ballan finished second behind Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) in 2008, but the Lampre-NGC rider had to renounce the race this morning to a fever. Manuele Mori was the best placed Italian in 2007, fourth behind Russian Alexandr Kolobnev.

The race started at 10:49 under partly cloudy skies. There were 112 of the listed 114 riders (no Ballan or Gerald Ciolek of Milram) who departed from Gaiole in Chianti. The race headed south towards the first of eight sectors.

Italy's Luca Pierfelici (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) started an escape group at kilometre 28. He went seven kilometres before the first of eight white gravel sectors, one of 13.5 kilometres.

Ryder Hesjedal and Daniele Bennati cover the gravel
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Italians Diego Caccia (Barloworld), Riccardo Chiarini (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) and Ukrainian Oleksandr Kvachuk (ISD) joined Pierfelici. The four built a maximum advantage of 5:28 at kilometre 60, shortly after the second sector. Diego Nosotti (Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce) trailed in a solo fruitless effort.

The escape's distance over the main group started to fall on the loop back north to Siena. The four confronted the back-to-back sections of three and four - a total of 19.9 kilometres over gravel, which included difficult climbs and descents.

The group nailed Nosotti back at kilometre 77. The four escapees held their margin but it was progressively decreasing. Pierfelici cracked at the end of the 11.5-kilometre sector five, Monte Sante Marie, kilometre 143.

Caccia, Chiarini and Kvachuk pushed on and held 1:05 at kilometre 151 over a group of 51 riders. Francesco Ginanni (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli), Giovanni Visconti (ISD), Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) (all Tuscans), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Slipstream), Linus Gerdemann (Milram), Maurizio Biondo (Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce), Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) were the favourites of the chase.

Sectors and length:
1: km 35.0 at 13.5km
2: km 53.9 at 5.5km
3: km 82.3 at 11.9km
4: km 95.2 at 8.0km
5: km 132.4 at 11.5km
6: km 163.7 at 3.3km
7: km 170.4 at 2.4km
8: km 176.7 at 1.1km
Total length: 57.2km

USA's Garmin pushed the tempo and it had the trio pinned at 42 seconds on the entry of sector six, 27 kilometres to race. Andriy Grivko (ISD) attacked and quickly picked up teammate Kvachuk, who had dropped off the front escape. Caccia and Chiarini held 15 seconds over the ISD duo and 30 seconds on the group with 25 kilometres to race.

Another USA team, Columbia, now led the charge. The team of Lövkvist absorbed the ISD riders and was 27 seconds behind Caccia and Chiarini by the end of the seventh sector, kilometre 172.8.

Riders and support vehicles kick up a cloud of dust
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Hesjedal, Bennati, Visconti and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) joined the front duo and soon dropped them. They held 10 seconds on Elmiger, Lövkvist and Wegmann at with 10 kilometres remaining.

Roger Hammond, Daniel Lloyd (both Cervélo TestTeam), Oscar Gatto (ISD), Chiarini, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad), Serguei Ivanov (Katusha), Gerdemann and Peter Velits (both Milram) joined the front men to form a group of 15 at seven kilometres from Siena's Campo. Visconti immediately launched and remained free for one kilometre.

Gerdemann followed with a harder attack that lasted for five kilometres. Visconti, Bennati and Chiarini were most active in the chase of the German. Compatriot Wegmann attacked as the group split over the 16 percent rise on Via Santa Caterina. Gerdemann faded fast and Lövkvist surged ahead of Wegmann.

"That was a really strong team performance today," said Wegmann. "We were a little lucky there and then could use some tactics."

Lövkvist won after 4h59:02 of racing in Piazza del Campo, where the famous twice yearly horse races – Palio – run. He had four seconds advantage on Wegmann, six on Elmiger, eight on Boasson Hagen, 12 on Gerdemann and 14 on Visconti.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Sirotti/www.sirotti.it

Results - 190km

1 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad                           4.59.02  (38.12 km/h)
2 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram                                            0.04
3 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale                                       0.06
4 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad                         0.08
5 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram                                           0.12
6 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) ISD                                                 0.14
7 Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram                                                  
8 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank                                           0.16
9 Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervelo TestTeam                                         0.19
10 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Slipstream                                   0.22
11 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas                                             0.29
12 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha                                          0.30
13 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Cervelo TestTeam                                 0.34
14 Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervelo TestTeam                                           
15 Riccardo Chiarini (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini                          0.50
16 Oscar Gatto (Ita) ISD                                                      1.18
17 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                        1.36
18 Dominique Rollin (Can) Cervelo TestTeam                                        
19 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli          
20 Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank                                            
21 Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce                      
22 Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream                                     
23 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia - Highroad                              1.40
24 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - Highroad                              1.41
25 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Barloworld                                          
26 Francesco Failli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                          
27 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Team Katusha                                           1.47
28 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD                                                        
29 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini                           2.14
30 Diego Caccia (Ita) Barloworld                                                  
31 Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo TestTeam                                       2.16
32 Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda) AG2R La Mondiale                                  2.22
33 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha                                         4.20
34 Francesco Ginanni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli        
35 Michael Albasini (Swi) Team Columbia - Highroad                                
36 Dario David Cioni (Ita) ISD                                                4.33
37 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Team Saxo Bank                                     5.43
38 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas                                                
39 Serguei Klimov (Rus) Team Katusha                                              
40 Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) ISD                                                    
41 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream                                         
42 William Frischkorn (USA) Garmin - Slipstream                                   
43 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervelo TestTeam                                           
44 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Team Katusha                                                 
45 Maxim Belkov (Rus) ISD                                                         
46 Svein Tuft (Can) Garmin - Slipstream                                       6.00
47 Christopher Sutton (Aus) Garmin - Slipstream                                   
48 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank                                            
49 Maurizio Biondo (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce                        
50 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas                                              9.56
51 Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) ISD                                                   
52 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo TestTeam                                         
53 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas                                                      
54 Luca Pierfelici (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                           
55 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team Saxo Bank                                    12.27
56 Martin Reimer (Ger) Cervelo TestTeam                                           
57 Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Team Saxo Bank                                
58 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                           
59 Jean Charles Senac (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                      
60 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini                               
61 Michael Friedman (USA) Garmin - Slipstream                                     
62 Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                           
63 Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Lampre - N.G.C.                                             
64 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Katusha                                                   
65 Giampaolo Cheula (Ita) Barloworld                                              
66 Carlo Scognamiglio (Ita) Barloworld                                            
67 Luigi Sestili (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce                     13.57
68 Adriano Angeloni (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce                       
69 Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli          
70 Fabio Negri (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini                                    
71 Andrea Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                        
72 Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                        
DNF Francesco Di Paolo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                       
DNF Alessandro Fantini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                       
DNF Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                          
DNF Aurélien Clerc (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale                                         
DNF Rene Mandri (Est) AG2R La Mondiale                                            
DNF Patrick Calcagni (Swi) Barloworld                                             
DNF Marco Corti (Ita) Barloworld                                                  
DNF Michele Merlo (Ita) Barloworld                                                
DNF Geraint Thomas (GBr) Barloworld                                               
DNF Alessandro Maserati (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce                   
DNF Diego Nosotti (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce                         
DNF Bernardo Riccio (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce                       
DNF Luca Celli (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli              
DNF Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Mattia Gavazzi (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli          
DNF Nazareno Rossi (Swi) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli          
DNF Luca Solari (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli             
DNF Hans Dekkers (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream                                        
DNF Vitaliy Kondrut (Ukr) ISD                                                     
DNF Emanuale Bindi (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                          
DNF Andrea Grendene (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                         
DNF Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                       
DNF Volodymyr Zagorodny (Ukr) Lampre - N.G.C.                                     
DNF Claudio Corioni (Ita) Liquigas                                                
DNF Gianni Da Ros (Ita) Liquigas                                                  
DNF Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas                                               
DNF Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas                                             
DNF Marco Cattaneo (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini                                
DNF Giairo Ermeti (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini                                 
DNF Matteo Montaguti (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini                              
DNF Roberto Ferrari (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini                               
DNF Adam Hansen (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad                                    
DNF Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad                                 
DNF Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha                                           
DNF Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram                                         
DNF Servais Knaven (Ned) Team Milram                                              
DNF Björn Schröder (Ger) Team Milram                                              
DNF Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram                                               
DNF Domenik Klemme (Ger) Team Saxo Bank                                           
DNF Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo Bank                                                
DNS Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                       
DNS Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram