GRASSE, France (VN) — Swedish rider Thomas Lövkvist delivered a huge win for start-up team IAM Cycling with overall victory at the 40th Tour Méditerranéen along the French coast Sunday.
The difference for victory came down to fractions of a second — 0.376 to be exact — between him and second-place rider Jean-Christophe Péraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale).
Both riders started the final stage in Bandol some two seconds behind overnight leader Maxime Monfort (RadioShack-Leopard), but the Belgian lost contact with the leaders during the 197.4km march across heavy hills to Grasse.
Jurgen Roelandts delivered the second stage win of the week for Lotto-Belisol and the 10th on the 2013 season with a well-timed punch to the line.
Francesco Reda (Androni) crossed the line second at 4 seconds adrift while Monfort, who took the leader’s jersey in Saturday’s summit finale atop Mont Faron, struggled late to cross the line 17th at 35 seconds back.
Lövkvist and Péraud, a winner up Mont Faron on Saturday, crossed the line with the same time in a group of chasing riders at 17 seconds back.
They were tied on time, so the tiebreaker was the difference taken in Thursday’s 24km time trial at Sète.
The victory is the first by Lovkvist in four years and the first for IAM Cycling, a new Swiss team making its debut this season.
The team has already earned some valued invitations, including slots in Paris-Nice and Amstel Gold Race, with team owners eyeing a start in the Tour de France.