Monday, June 1, 2009

"Gotland" Impresses Again

(cc photo courtesy of Joe Mac1)

Finishing in the Top 25 at the Giro d' Italia on Sunday, Thomas Lövkvist, nicknamed "Gotland" by friends and family from his hometown on the Swedish isle of Gotland, will now gear up for the Tour de France. Lövkvist became the first Swede in more than 20 years to wear the "pink jersey" (equivalent to the yellow jersey in the Tour de France) as the Giro d' Italia's overall leader following Stage 4 in the Dolomites. He did not hold onto the pink jersey for long, but he gives Swedes an exciting cyclist to cheer on in July at the Tour de France.

The 25-year old Lövkvist wraps up the 21-stage, 3-week Giro 48 minutes off the pace, in 25th place overall (out of 169 Giro finishers). He will compete against Lance Armstrong next month. Armstrong ends his first Giro in 12th place overall, completing a strong effort for his first grand tour coming out of retirement at age 37.

Crashing in the final kilometer on the curvy, rain-slick, partially cobblestoned final stage of the race, a time trial in Rome, Russia's Denis Menchov quickly recovers to win the 100th edition of the Giro. Italy's Danilo Di Luca takes second place, followed by Italy's Franco Pellizotti, Spain's Carlos Sastre, Italy's Ivan Basso and the Bay Area's Levi Leipheimer (teammate of Armstrong and 3-time Tour of California winner).

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