Vincenzo Nibali storms to Il Lombardia victory
Home favourite Vincenzo Nibali produced an inspired late attack to win the prestigious Il Lombardia.
The so-called ‘Race of the Falling Leaves’ is the fifth and final Monument of the season and offers a chance for some of the sport’s strongest climbers to show their skills on the hills around the picturesque Lake Como in northern Italy.
And the eye-wateringly testing terrain delivered in spades, with drama throughout the day.
Hearts were in mouths when Laurens de Plus crashed over a roadside barrier on a technical descent and dropped out of sight, but his Quick-Step team later revealed the rider had thankfully not sustained any serious injuries in the incident.
But it was on the ascents where the race was always like to be won, and Nibali, riding for Bahrain-Merida, launched the race-defining assault on the final climb to burst clear of Thibaut Pinot and Rigoberto Uran and increase his lead on the descent into Como.
Nibali told reporters after the race:
" This is a great cherry on top to conclude the season. I've trained a lot on these roads and I really know them. I really felt good and I played my cards well. I got big support from my team I had great physical condition from the end of the season, but everyone was looking to me as the favourite so it wasn’t easy to win. Today my plan was just to have a great race. I’ve had a lot of good placings this year but without the big win that I was looking for and to win a Monument it is always something great."
The Italian's victory is the second Tour of Lombardy win of his illustrious career.
Il Lombardia Results
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida: 6:15:29
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors: +28s
3 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky: +38s
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ: +38s
7 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky: +40
9 Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Astana Pro Team: +47
10 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb: +47