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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, October 13, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

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Il Lombardia race reports

We posted the report from second-place Alejandro Valverde's Team Movistar with the results.

Here's the race organizer's report:

Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) won his first Monument at the age of 32 as he soloed to victory in Il Lombardia after a well-timed attack with 18.5km to go on the Civiglio climb. He fended off the return of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) who rounded out the podium.

Bauke Mollema

Bauke Mollema savors his win. Sirotti photo

Bauke Mollema took the fourth Dutch victory in the history of Il Lombardia after Jo de Roo in 1962 and 1963 and Hennie Kuiper in 1981.

Bauke Mollema is the ninth oldest winner of Il Lombardia at the age of 32 years and 320 days, preceding Kuiper who won at 32 years and 256 days. Tano Belloni is the oldest, having won in 1928 at 36 years and 69 days.

Alejandro Valverde is the oldest podium finisher at 39. Previous record was held by Franco Bitossi who was 37 years old in 1977. Besides Valverde and Bitossi, only Fausto Coppi made the podium aged 37 or older, when he came second in his last Il Lombardia in 1956.

To find a podium finisher younger than Bernal, 22, we have to go back to 2008 with another Colombian, Rigoberto Uran, who came third, aged 21.

The winner, Bauke Mollema said in the post-race press conference: “Once I had 20 seconds lead, I was surprised that the gap went up pretty fast. They were watching each other at the back. I was pretty sure that I’d still be first atop Civiglio. I didn’t know what was happening behind, but as I heard that I still had a 20-second lead, I had a good chance to win. I knew the downhill well, so I just time trialled until the finish. The last climb wasn’t super hard. I knew it. At one point I looked down and I saw Roglic was still pretty far away, so I was confident. With 1 or 2km to go, I was sure that I was gonna win. I had a good rhythm and they weren’t closing on me. Winning a Monument is a great way to finish the season, it’s nice that I had time to celebrate, my parents were here, it’s been a special moment.”

Alejandro Valverde, second, said: “I’m happy with the second place because it always means something to make the podium at Il Lombardia. Mollema is the winner. Hats off to him. He attacked well and maintained a good pace. We didn’t get much organised behind him. One of us attacked, then another one. I had the legs to do a little bit better. I could have won but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec), the first rider clearing the Ghisallo climb, was presented with the Premio Todisco in memory of the late La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist

Egan Bernal, third, said: “To be honest, I didn’t think this morning that I would have made the podium. It’s something really big for me. Il Lombardia is my first Monument with a podium place. I’m happy with this and I’m happy with the form I’m finishing the season with. Mollema was very strong when he went on the climb. He got a gap and we were riding very hard behind him. Roglic attacked but at the end of the day, Mollema was the strongest because he managed to keep his advantage. I’d like to win a Monument like this one day but it’s difficult for me to stay at the front of such a hard race. I’m still only 22 years old and I’ll do my best to improve my cycling and my results in the coming years.”

Third-place Egan Bernal's Team INEOS posted this report:

Egan Bernal capped off an incredible season with third place at Il Lombardia. The Colombian claimed his first podium finish in a Monument Classic after sprinting from a select group into Como.

Egan Bernal

Egan Bernal before the race start. Sirotti photo

Edged out by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), a group of elite contenders found themselves racing for second place after Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) made good his escape on the run-in, taking a 16-second solo victory.

Bernal showed good legs in the finale, and was joined in the lead group by Ivan Sosa following the brutal slopes of the Muro di Sormano.

Sosa finished well in 14th after a strong day out, with Gianni Moscon coming home only slightly further back in 19th as part of a chasing group.

Team INEOS picked up the tempo on the famed slopes of the Madonna del Ghisallo climb. After stints on the front from Salvatore Puccio and Tao Geoghegan Hart, the action cranked up a notch on the Muro di Sormano.

Sosa was alert to the moves and crested the climb at the head of the race, with Bernal able to sit in behind until the action regrouped prior to the Civiglio, where Mollema went clear.

Egan Bernal:
"This morning I was hoping to do my best, but to be on the podium in Lombardia is something really big for me – my first time in a Monument. I’m really happy for this and my performance.

"[Mollema] was really strong. When he went on the climb he did a big gap, and then behind we were also going really hard. Yates was pulling, then Roglic attacked and he still had this [time] difference. In the final he was the strongest.

"I think that the most important thing is that I’m on the podium and to finish the season with a strong result. I would like [to win a Monument] but it’s difficult for me to stay at the front in these kind of races. I really like them and I will try to improve a bit more. I’m still 22 years old."

Here's the report from Team Bora-hansgrohe:

This Saturday, the riders tackled the last of the five Monuments of the year. The course of the 113th edition of Il Lombardia remained largely unchanged compared to the last edition of the race. The 243 km long and mountainous route between Bergamo and Como initially traversed over flat terrain, with the course then leading uphill after 40km to the Colle Gallo and shortly later to the Colle Brianza.

The climbing didn’t stop there, being followed by the ascent of the Madonna del Ghisallo, featuring gradients of up to 14 per cent, as well as the Colma of Sormano, with its gradients of up to 27 per cent. After a steep and fast descent, the peloton rode along the shores of Lake Como before heading up to the Civiglio climb and its ten percent steep gradients, and finally the last ascent of the day, the climb to San Fermo della Battaglia. After a descent of 6km, the riders eventually reached the finish line in Como after having conquered around 4,000m of elevation gain.

Shortly after the fall of the flag, Cesare Benedetti and seven breakaway companions escaped the field and managed to stretch out their lead to five minutes during the first hour racing. Although several teams joined the pace setting efforts at the mid-way point, their advantage remained steady. Ahead of the ascent of the Madonna del Ghisallo, the leading group split and Cesare fell back slightly. A duo then led the race for some time, but at the Wall of Sarmano, Rafal Majka attacked out of the reduced field and the remaining escapees were ultimately caught. On the sinuous descent that followed, some of the favourites were able to catch up the leaders and the group of around 30, containing Emanuel Buchmann, Rafal Majka and Davide Formolo took on the remaining 40 km.

When Tim Wellens attacked a few kilometres later, Emanuel jumped onto the back wheel of the Belgian rider. The duo out front built up an advantage of 30 seconds to the chasing group, which was being led by Jumbo – Visma, and although Emanuel left the Belgian rider behind, the German was eventually reeled in by the riders behind.

Shortly afterwards, Bauke Mollema attacked and entered the final 10 km with an advantage of over 30 seconds. Ultimately, no one was able to follow the Dutch rider and he went on to take the win convincingly. Emanuel concluded this year’s Il Lombardia in eighth position, as the best-placed BORA – hansgrohe rider, while Rafal Majka took out 12th place.

Emanuel Buchmann

Emanuel Buchmann finishes eighth. Sirotti photo

From the finish line:
“I felt quite good right from the start, and Gregor brought me into a suitable position ahead of the Ghisallo and the Sormano. Then I decided to attack after Wellens, but in retrospect that was probably not the best move, as we were only able to ride out an advantage of around 30 seconds, and when the chasers caught up with us, I was already on the limit. However, I think that I can be satisfied with my eighth place.” - Emanuel Buchmann

‘Our guys rode a very offensive race. Although we actually wanted to wait slightly longer, Rafal launched an attack at the Mur de Sormano and split the field down to around 25 riders. Then on the way to Como, Emu attacked with Wellens and they had a maximum lead of 35 seconds, which unfortunately was not enough. If the two would have had a minute, they would have been in the mix for the win. Mollema had the right timing and managed to fend everyone off. In the end, we finished eighth and twelfth, which was a great team performance, and we were not far from achieving a surprise today. The entire team put in a big effort. Cesare Benedetti rode in the breakaway and reached the Mur de Sormano, while the others did excellent work in support of their teammates.” - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

Dylan Groenewegen has the most 2019 season race wins, Primoz Roglic ends season world’s number one

Team Jumbo-Visma sent me this:

Dylan Groenewegen has ended his cycling season in style with the victory in the Tacx Pro Classic. The sprinter of Team Jumbo-Visma was the first to cross the line after a perfect lead out. It meant his fifteenth win this year and his fiftieth victory as a professional cyclist.

The rider from Amsterdam completed the teamwork in the best possible way and thereby gave his team the 51st victory of the season. With his fifteen victories, Groenewegen currently is the rider with the most wins this season, which is about to end in Asia soon.

Teammate Roglic may be called the best rider of the season. After his recent victories in the Vuelta a España, the Giro dell’Emilia and Tre Valli Varesine, the Slovenian rider of Team Jumbo-Visma will conclude the season as the number one in the UCI world ranking.

Primmoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic wins Giro dell'Emilia. Sirotti photo

“We were very motivated to win here and we showed that. When I’m in shape and up to speed, it’s hard to beat me. I can look back on a good season and I am happy that I was able to finish this season with a victory. The fact that I am the rider with the most UCI victories this season is nice, even if they are just statistics.”

Roglic became seventh today in the Giro di Lombardia, won by Bauke Mollema. “This was my most successful season to date. Last week, I also showed that I am able to compete for the win in one-day races. But above all I am most happy with the fact that I am finishing the season as number one in the world.”

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