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IAM and OGE excel in the Mediterranean

With the overall win of IAM captain Thomas Löfkvist at the Tour Mediterranean and two sprint victories of OGE rider Leigh Howard in Mallorca, the SCOTT road teams celebrate an excellent season kick-off

(lifePR) (Givisiez, ) A debut and a win have marked a strong beginning for IAM Cycling. Right out of the gates, the team is already celebrating its first victory by winning the Tour Mediterranean. Thomas Lövkvist started the last stage 2 seconds behind the leader Maxime Monfort of team RadioShack. Although Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) would win the final stage to Grasse, the Swedish rider from IAM Cycling was able to seal the overall victory securing his first big win since 2009.

Here is what Thomas had to say about the victory. “I'm very happy, I had good sensations the entire week and I knew we could do something. I have to thank my teammates for their work, I was impressed by how fast we joined up as a team on the road, it's not always easy for a new group but there it went better and better each day.” “The first thing I had in mind after crossing the line was, "Finally!” I waited quite a long time for this and it is a real satisfaction. This morning I knew the stage would be hard and that we would have to be very good in strategy to win the race.“ (...) Read more.

Before Thomas Löfkvist celebrated his overall win in Grasse/Southern France, the team prepared at the training camp in Mallorca.

Howard Takes Two in Trofeo Migjorn

Leigh Howard won two stages for ORICA-GreenEDGE at the Challenge Ciclista a Mallorca. Having targeted the final day of racing the team again put their plan into action and came away with the win. Part of an early break, Michael Matthews adding to the team's accomplishments, taking home the King of the Mountains jersey. The first 20 kilometres of racing were very fast. Sport Director Neil Stephens reported frequent attacks and strong winds that put riders in the gutter. Eventually a break of seven riders formed; later the move became ten. ORICA-GreenEDGE had Michael Matthews in the group.

”We really wanted a rider in the early break,” Stephens noted. “This took the pressure off us and also gave us an extra rider up the road ahead of the finish.”
The break obtained a maximum advantage of 4:35. With the middle part of the stage containing some undulation, Michael Matthews took the opportunity to pick up King of the Mountain points. Matthews was first over two of the four climbs. This was enough to win him the King of the Mountains Jersey. With Wesley Sulzberger claiming the mountains prize yesterday, it's two days in a row for ORICA-GreenEDGE with the KOM jersey. Read the whole story here.

Following the training camp in Mallorca, OGE riders will go off to the Classics and Paris-Nice or Tirreno–Adriatico.

Women’s Team Triumphs in Qatar

Not quite the Mediteranean, but still close to warm water, ORICA-AIS won the team competition at the Ladies Tour of Qatar. With three riders in the top ten on the overall classification following four days of aggressive, tactical racing, the Australian outfit beat out Specialized-lululemon and Wiggle Honda for the team prize.

While the team admittedly had hope for a stronger overall result or a stage win for their consistent shows of aggression and fitness, Sport Director David McPartland hopes the team will feel as satisfied as he did with what they accomplished in Qatar.

“The best thing for me is that we were in the race every day,” he said. “We animated the action on every stage. We were on the back foot without a pure sprinter, so racing the way we did was our only chance and I think we all benefited from the way we raced.” Read more.