LOMBARDIA’20: Fantastic Fuglsang!
Race Report: Yet another day of excitement – But not all for good reasons. Race favourite, Remco Evenepoel, over cooked it on a bend and flew over a bridge parapet. He ended the day in hospital with, as yet, unknown injuries. Astana had two riders in the finalé and it was Jakob Fuglsang who put in the decisive move to leave George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) and teammate, Russian champion Aleksander Vlasov, to the remainder of the podium. Last year’s winner, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) was fourth.
Another Monument for the great Dane
Fuglsang won the Tour of Lombardy in fine style by breaking away with the New Zealander, George Bennett and the Russian Aleksandr Vlasov, then on the last ascent of the day he left them in his wake to arrive solo in Como.
The start in Bergamo
From Bergamo the route crosses the plains in its first 40km to head 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. A short ride to Colle Brianza and a descent to Oggiono, then the route passes through Pusiano, Canzo, Asso and down the descent to Onno and on to Bellagio. Next is the Ghisallo ascent, with gradients of up to 14% on wide roads with hairpin bends.
The climb of the Colma di Sormano starts in Maglio. After a few kilometres 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, exceed 25% up to almost 30%. Once past the Colma, the route follows the descent to Nesso, then to Como. Next the hard climb to Civiglio (614m) with slopes around 10% with a marked narrowing of the road at the top of the climb – before going back down and through Como to hit the last climb of San Fermo della Battaglia (397m).
The 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 kilometre.
The early break
Deceuninck – Quick-Step were in control
That 20-year-old Remco Evenepoel, who, together with his Deceuninck – Quick-Step team, hinted his ambitions throughout the race by riding at the front of the peloton. This ensured that a leading group with eleven riders could never stay out front for long.
A hot day in Lombardy
Marco Rapporti, Davide Gabburo, Emmanuel Morin, Denis Nekrasov, Andrea Pasqualon, James Piccoli, Aleksandr Rjaboesjenko, Joey Rosskopf, Daniel Savini, Florian Stork and Petr Vakoc were part of this leading group.
The Canadian Piccoli was very keen that this leading group would succeed, they rode to a maximum lead of 4 minutes, but to no avail. On the Madonna del Ghisallo he was the last to be caught, after which the finalé could really begin.
The peloton passes the Madonna del Ghisallo
The favourites kept their powder dry on the Madonna del Ghisallo, after which they started on the Muro di Sormano. There, due to the pace of Aleksandr Vlasov, many riders lost the contact with the peloton. Maximilian Schachmann, Richard Carapaz and eventually Mathieu van der Poel cracked, leaving only seven riders on the front.
On the climb of the Muro di Sormano
Jakob Fuglsang, Bauke Mollema, Vincenzo Nibali, Giulio Ciccone, George Bennett, Evenepoel and Vlasov made up the group that would probably fight for the victory. Evenepoel would be the first to drop out of them. The young Flemish star hit a bridge wall and shoot in to the ravine on the descent of the Muro di Sormano. Evenepoel remained conscious and the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider was loaded into an ambulance. Just a week after Fabio Jakobsen’s dramatic crash in Poland.
DS Bramatti looking for Evenepoel
It was a long drop
The six remaining riders then prepared for the Civiglio. Once on the Civiglio, Trek-Segafredo took control. Nibali went ahead of Mollema and Ciccone, but in the end all three couldn’t hold an attack by Vlasov. Bennett and Fuglsang were able to cross, so there were now three leaders.
Remco Evenepoel being put in the ambulance
Mollema and Ciccone were not completely defeated. The two riders stayed at 15 seconds for a long time. It looked like they might make contact again, until Mollema misjudged a bend 10 kilometres from the finish. After that, their chances of victory were gone.
Where was Trek-Segafredo?
Bennett made his move
The 2020 Il Lombardia was decided on the climb of the San Fermo della Battaglia. At the foot of the climb, it was Bennett who attacked first. The New Zealander dropped Vlasov with his effort, but was then countered by Fuglsang.
Bennett was strong, but…
The 35-year-old Fuglsang rode away from Bennett, after which Il Lombardia was in the Dane’s pocket. In Como, Fuglsang was able to celebrate his second Monument victory after Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Bennett and Vlasov were on the podium with Fuglsang. Mollema finished fourth.
A perfect race by Astana
2020 Lombardia winner Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): “It was a hot day and went full gas. I felt good but I knew that George [Bennett] was also in good shape, especially after his win at GranPiemonte on Wednesday. Luckily there was Vlasov who helped me a lot: he rode like a champion today. After the Civiglio I thought I was going to sprint with George [Bennett], then on San Fermo, I tried and when I saw that I was alone, I continued to push until the finish line.”
2020 Lombardia podium
Il Lombardia Result:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana in 5:32:54
2. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 0:31
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana at 0:51
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:19
5. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:40
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 3:31
7. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 4:31
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 5:20
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation at 6:00
10. Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 6:28
11. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC at 6:51
12. Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 8:15
13. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos
14. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling at 10:05
15. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 10:09
16. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar at 10:18
17. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling at 10:25
18. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Vini Zabu-KTM
19. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
20. Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC
21. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
22. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Israel Start-Up Nation
23. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Start-Up Nation
24. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 10:31
25. Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) AG2R-La Mondiale at 10:56
26. Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 11:04
27. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
28. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC at 12:55
29. Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling at 12:56
30. Simone Petilli (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert.