Saturday’s stage 4 in the Tour Méditerranéen brought the leader’s jersey to RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK’s Maxime Monfort. Monfort, 30, had moved into second place after the stage 2 individual time trial, sitting 22-seconds behind leader Lars Boom in the classification. A breakaway victory on Mt. Faron went to Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R la Mondiale) who attacked on the final climb to earn his first win on the road after having competed for years in mountainbiking.
Monfort: “I felt no panic when Peraud attacked. I had studied the GC very well with (director) Azevedo last night. I knew he would never take one minute on me. We were well prepared. The only thing not foreseen was that I had a very bad day today. But I gave everything I had. It was a fight within myself the last two, three kilometers. It was a TT for me. Thanks go to my teammates who worked all day for me. Thomas Rohregger was the last guy with me until 2k from the top and then it was up to me. Just at that moment Boom was dropped.” Boom slipped to second place on the classification.
Team director José Azevedo: “Now we will defend this jersey tomorrow in a hard stage. It won’t be easy. We only have six riders as Robert Kišerlovski was sick and didn’t start today. If a lot of riders survive the climb of Tanneron we might be lucky that the sprinters’ teams will work. Otherwise it will be up to us alone.”
Maxime Monfort signed his first professional contract in 2004 and quickly proved his value by winning the overall in the Tour of Luxembourg. Known for both his climbing and time trialing skills, Max has spent much of his career in service to others and has proven to be a solid team rider.
The Tour Méditerranéen ends on Sunday with a 192km/119mi stage from Bandol to Grasse. It includes the final climb to Tanneron in the closing kilometers before a fast descent into Grasse.
Monfort: “Four riders on GC are within a handful of seconds. It will be hard but not impossible. Anyway I will enjoy this moment and this jersey for now. It’s an unusual one – yellow with white dots.”