Nasty weather didn’t stop the final stage of the Tour Méditerranéen on Sunday and the summit finish atop the 2,000-foot Mont Faron proved the race decider as expected.
A day after cold and snow neutralized the fourth stage, Sunday’s 123km finale finishing up the twisting switchbacks up Mont Faron high above the port at Toulon served up the fireworks as expected.
Francesco Masciarelli (Acqua e Sapone) delivered his most important victory yet on his young career while Alejandro Valverde, who started just 10 seconds out of the lead, rode his coattails to second and into his first victory of the 2010 season.
Overnight leader leader Jussi Veikkanen (FDJeux) couldn’t keep pace with the lithe climbers and eventually succumbed to the Cat. 1 steeps of Mont Faron to surrender the leader’s jersey.
Valverde was best-placed among the GC riders and only had to make sure he controlled the action to assure him overall victory.
“I had good feelings during the entire week but today, with the accumulation of cold weather, rain and even snow since last Wednesday, I did not feel so good as the other days and I really suffered a lot while climbing the Mont Faron,” Valverde said.
“Nevertheless, I was aware of the great job my teammates of Caisse d’Epargne achieved for me not only today but in all the stages and I knew I had no right to deceive them. I gave it all in the hill and finished the stage in second position, which was sufficient to be first overall.”
Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) finished third in the stage and rode to second overall. Tom Danielson (Garmin-Transitions) rode a solid 14th on the stage.