Lövkvist optimistic about Tour place for team, ready for leadership role
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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Lövkvist optimistic about Tour place for team, ready for leadership role

by Conal Andrews at 8:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Team Sky has not officially announced it has abandoned its efforts to sign Bradley Wiggins for 2010 – indeed, there is speculation that those efforts are ongoing, even now – but in the absence of any firm news on the matter, Thomas Lövkvist is thinking of the chance to lead the team in the Tour de France.

Sky will be one of many fighting for a place in cycling’s biggest event. Like RadioShack, it will be in its first year of existence but, as is the case with the American squad, a big budget, a well-known sponsor and strong riders make it hard to imagine ASO leaving them out.

Sky can also boast some very solid riders, including Lövkvist and his former Columbia HTC team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen. The latter is regarded as one of the most exciting talents in cycling and if he has the spring campaign that is expected of him, he could well head to the Tour as a big favourite for stage wins.

Lövkvist feels it is almost certain that they will be given a wildcard place. “I’d certainly be very disappointed if we were not,” he told Eurosport.se. “The team has had several very positive conversations with the Tour organization, so we have great hopes.”

Earlier this week a story appeared on the BBC website, quoting Wiggins as saying that he will be staying put with Garmin. The piece was notable in that it didn’t give a timeframe for the quote, making it impossible to know when the Briton made the statement.

“I still have to see my contract out with Garmin," he said. "I didn't really have the choice. It was never going to happen, so I never built up my hopes. I'll just have to concentrate on what I've got and focus with Garmin and do the best I can next year.”

Assuming that is the current position, Lövkvist’s all-round abilities make him the most likely GC leader for the Tour.

“There are both advantages and disadvantages that he did not come to us,” he said, reflecting on the situation. “The advantage is that I get more space, the disadvantage is that there is greater pressure on me. When we get to the Tour, it's me who is riding for the overall Classification…at least, that’s how I see it right now, and I feel comfortable with that. But it is clear that I must perform - one is never better than his last race,” he stated.

Team Sky will make its debut in the Tour Down Under in January.

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