Il Lombardia is the last big race of the season and one to savour
The final of the five monuments of road cycling, 'The Race of the Falling Leaves' takes place in early autumn across the picturesque landscape of Lombardy in northern Italy this Saturday October 12
It's a 243km gruelling day in the saddle, covering six categorised climbs including the dreaded Corma di Sormano as the course takes the peloton from Bergamo to Como.
Recent winners have included Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott).
While defending champion Pinot will be absent, a stacked start list will descend onto Bergamo including the likes of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Egan Bernal (Team Ineos).
The 2019 Course
After departing Bergamo in a southerly direction, the route crosses the Bergamo plain in its first 40km to go up the Cavallina valley to Casazza where the Colle Gallo – the first ascent of the race – is tackled. Colle is followed by a fast descent returning from the Seriana valley to Bergamo, then the route re-enters lowland roads that lead to Brianza. There’s a short passage to Colle Brianza and a descent to Pescate heading towards Valmadrera and then towards Oggiono and, finally, through Pusiano, Asso and down the descent to Onno and on to Bellagio. This is where the Ghisallo ascent – with gradients of up to 14% on wide roads with different hairpin bends – begins.
The following very fast descent is on long straights and ends at Maglio where, immediately after a right turn, the climb of the Colma di Sormano begins. After a few km of medium slopes, and a few hundred meters after Sormano, the route heads up the Muro di Sormano on a narrow, very steep road, (2km long, with a gradient up to 15%). It’s partly inside a small wood, with very narrow bends and slopes that, for around 1km of distance, exceed 25% up to almost 30%.
Once past the Colma, the route follows the descent to Nesso, where the riders then take the coastal road to reach Como. Next they face the hard climb to Civiglio (614m) with slopes almost always around 10% – and with a marked narrowing of the roadway at the top of the climb – before going back down and through Como to hit the last climb of San Fermo della Battaglia (397m). There are two Feed Zones: the first in San Sosimo (km 112-5) and the second in Onno (km 182-5).
Last 10km start inside the area of Como on wide avenues, up to the railway underpass where the final ascent of San Fermo della Battaglia begins. The slope is around 7% (max 10%). The route passes several hairpin bends up to the brow at around 5km from the finish. The descent, on a wide, well-paved road ends at the last kilometer.
VIDEO: 2019 Il Lombardia Course Preview
Last year Frenchman Tibault Pinot dropped breakaway companion Vincenzo Nibal to win his first Monument, Nibali is a two-time champion of this race The Italian has also only won this race when finishing in Como, like it is on Saturday, which could be a good omen for the Shark this weekend.
The strongest rider this autumn, so far, has been Jumbo-Visma's Primoz Roglic. His victories at Giro dell'Emilia and Tre Valli Varesine looked so easy after winning the Vuelta a Espana.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) are sure favorites, Valverde having come second in the race twice before.
Woods, Gilbert, Fuglsang, Wellens, A.Yates, Teuns, Martin, Sosa are also top picks for this Saturday's race.
Follow LIVE COVERAGE of the 2019 Il Lombardia (Bergamo – Como 243km) this Saturday, 12 October, starts at 14:15pm CET (Europe), 08:15am U.S. Eastern