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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, October 8, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

I don't do drugs. I am drugs. - Salvador Dali

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Il Lombardia (Tour of Lombardy) team reports

Here's what winner Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain-Merida team had to say:

Second home Monument victory for Vincenzo Nibali. As in 2015, the Italian champion arrived solo to the finish line of Il Lombardia in Como ahead of French Julian Alaphilippe and Italian Gianni Moscon.

“It was a perfect day – says Vincenzo – I was still better than two years ago and I think you have seen it. In the last flat part my speed was over 50 km / h and so it was not easy to come and catch me. For me, it was number 50 win and I wanted to point out at the finish line. ”

Speaking of the race, Vincenzo said, “I understand that I should have invented something. On the hardest part of Civiglio I started with a dry attack. I made a difference, I took Pinot and I have fallen down. It was nice to see so many people on the streets to fancy me, a really cool emotion. ”

“I got a great support from my team – he concludes – I had great physical condition from the end of the season, but everyone was looking to me as the favorite so it was not easy to win.”

Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali wins Il Lombardia.

“It has been a win with the legs but also with a big heart – says SD Alberto Volpi – Vincenzo was outstanding and the team also gave him a great help. On days like this, it’s hard to imagine something better. ”

Second-place Julian Alaphilippe's Quick-Step Floors team posted this report:

Julian Alaphilippe opened Quick-Step Floors' account in this season's Monuments, with a solid and emphatic third place in Milano-Sanremo, and he was also the one who wrapped it up, by taking a runner-up spot at the 111th edition of Il Lombardia. In the intervening period, Philippe Gilbert soloed to a historic win at Ronde van Vlaanderen, while Zdenek Stybar and Dan Martin finished second at Paris-Roubaix and Liège–Bastogne–Liège, respectively.

The Frenchman, making his penultimate outing of the season, rode intelligently and stayed attentive during the race, as the peloton got shattered to pieces on Muro di Sormano, the 1.9km climb averaging 15.8%, which was first used on the course more than half a century ago. When Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) – who went on to take the win at the end of the day – attacked on Civiglio, the penultimate hill of the day, several riders tried to follow the Italian, but they burned their matches and succumbed on the flat section between that ascent and San Fermo della Battaglia.

Julian bided his time and made a move on the final climb, dropping the other riders present in that first chasing group, before going full gas on the descent to Como, where Il Lombardia concluded after 247 gruelling kilometers and over six hours of racing, which featured 4000 meters of climbing.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe finished second.

"It's incredible, I wasn't expecting to be on the podium today. After the World Championships I kept my focus and arrived here very motivated. I did my best when Nibali attacked, but couldn't follow him, so I decided to ride my own tempo and see how that goes", said Julian Alaphilippe, who now boasts podiums at Milano-Sanremo, Liège–Bastogne–Liège and Il Lombardia. "I didn't win, but I can't say I am disappointed. To finish on the podium of a Monument is something special and it makes me happy to see my legs are so strong in the month of October."

Julian's season – which kicked off at the Dubai Tour, in February – will not end here, the Frenchman being on the team that next week will travel to China, for the inaugural Tour of Guangxi. It will be Alaphilippe's 12th appointment of the year, one which saw him take Paris-Nice by storm (with a stage win and two distinctive jerseys), before a knee injury forced him to skip the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de France.

Despite that setback, he returned determined to make the most out of the remaining of the season, and his ambition and hunger for victories propelled Julian to a maiden Grand Tour stage win at the Vuelta a España, auguring his solid display at the Worlds and in Il Lombardia.

The latter was a rollercoaster of emotions for Quick-Step Floors, as Laurens De Plus – who was in the front after attacking on the iconic Madonna del Ghisallo – went over the guardrails on a treacherous descent and fell straight into a ravine. The 21-year-old was immediately attended by the race doctors and teammate Dries Devenyns, who stopped his race to stay with Laurens, before he was taken to the hospital.

"My thoughts right now are with Laurens. I got news of the incident during the race and I can't tell you how relieved I am to know he is ok after that horrible crash", said Julian of Laurens De Plus, who escaped without any major injuries, but is undergoing examinations at the hospital in Cantù.

And third-place Gianni Moscon's Team Sky posted this report:

It was a beautiful day in Bergamo as the riders rolled out for the final monument of the season, and it didn’t take long for a six-man break to establish itself, with the peloton happy to see the lead extend to over 10 minutes.

It was as the race approached the business end that Team Sky joined a number of teams beginning to push the pace, helping rapidly reduce the gap to the break and splinter the peloton.

A series of counter attacks came and went before a lead group formed with Team Sky continuing to animate the race as the race took shape. It was inside the final 20km that a powerful attack by Moscon set off more action at the front, with Nibali and Thibault Pinot (FDJ) getting away and building a lead before Nibali – urged on by the home support – was able to set off alone and take the win.

Gianni Moscon

Gianni Moscon (right, in Sky kit), finished third.

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) jumped away to take second place before Moscon led home a small group 38 seconds back for the final podium spot.

Mikel Nieve got amongst the action in the closing stages and backed up his team-mate with another strong performance, claiming eighth at the the line. Diego Rosa also secured a top-20 finish in 17th.

And finally, here's the Tour of Lombardy report Ag2r sent me:

Il Lombardia : Alexis Vuilermoz 4th / Domenico Pozzovivo 6th

Alexis Vuilermoz: "The Tour of Lombardy is a renowned monument, and taking 4th place is a great result. Throughout the day, I felt very good, and I think I maybe had a podium place in my legs. A sprint is always pretty random, and I should have gone to the right. Moscon closed the door a little, as often happens in this kind of situation.The season is over now, and I am satisfied with what I have accomplished since July. I’ve had four full months with the Tour de France (13th), the win at Tour du Limousin, and two fourth places in UCI WorldTour events. I am really satisfied

Domenico Pozzovivo finished in sixth place of the Tour of Lombardy. Mathias Frank was 16th and Alexandre Geniez 23rd."We had a very good race with top finishers, which puts us back in balance after Jan Bakelants’ crash,” said directeur sportif Julien Jurdie. “In particular Mikael Chérel was fantastic in the break and a 4thplace for Alexis Vuillermoz and 6th place with Domenico Pozzovivo, we can finish the year on a good note.”

Jan Bakelants suffered a major crash on the descent of the Sormano (KM 200), falling at the same time as Laurens De Plus. Our Belgian rider fell into the ravine below. He has been transferred never having lost consciousness to the hospital in Como. “We are in the process of making a full assessment of his injuries,” Dr. Eric Bouvat, doctor for the AG2R LA MONDIALE team, explained. We will publish a comprehensive health check at a later date.

Here's the Bakelants update Ag2r sent me:

Jan Bakelants suffered a major crash on the descent of the Sormano (KM 200), falling in the same place as Laurens De Plus. Our Belgian rider fell into the ravine below. He has been transferred never having lost consciousness to the San't Anna hospital in Como, accompanied by Dr. Guillaume Sarre, the doctor present for the AG2R LA MONDIALE team.   According to Eric Bouvat, head doctor for the AG2R LA MONDIALE team: “Jan Bakelants is in stable condition. He is conscious and has no difficulty breathing or moving. After an x-ray and CT scan, the following injuries have been detected:
-  Seven rib fractures, though without any impact on the lungs.
-  A fracture-compaction of the first lumbar vertebra and the third lumbar vertebra, the latter of which will require additional examination. An MRI will be carried out tomorrow.” 

Bakelants will spend the night in the hospital in Como.

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