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Zaugg solos to win in Lombardia

By:
Daniel Friebe

Swiss rider holds off favorites after escaping on Salita di Ello

Oliver Zaugg had never won the Giro di Lombardia before Saturday. Or indeed any Classic. Or for that matter a professional race of any description. The Swiss rider won't enjoy the comparison, but the 30-year-old Leopard-Trek rider's victory in Lecco on Saturday was a Lombardy upset in the Raimondas Rumsas or Vladislav Bobrik league.

On a course that lived up to the pre-race hype in beauty but perhaps not difficulty, Zaugg romped clear alone with a powerful attack on the Villa Vergano climb, 10 kilometres from the finish line in Lecco. Best of the rest was Garmin-Cervélo's Daniel Martin, whose sprint to pip Joaquin Rodriguez to second place underlined the Irishman's affinity for Lombardy and hilly one-day races in general. Zaugg's final winning margin was 15 seconds.

Martin could have few complaints. Zaugg's triumph came, as the French say, à la pédale. He proved the strongest rider in the crucial final kilometre of the Villa Vergano ascent, the so-called Muro dell'Alpino, and was faultless on the descent into Lecco. It was on the Muro dell'Alpino that many expected Philippe Gilbert to ride away to his third consecutive Lombardy title. But the world's number one rider seemed laboured, losing 20 seconds in less than a kilometre as the gradient reared up to 15 percent and dropping out of contention.

Ahead of Gilbert, a group comprising Przemyslaw Niemec, Domenico Pozzovivo, Ivan Basso, Martin and Rodriguez had also conceded too much time to trouble Zaugg on the run-in. Giovanni Visconti outsprinted Gilbert for seventh place but, if anything, was the more frustrated of the pair. "It's another opportunity thrown away," the Italian champion, riding his last race for Farnese Vini, cursed. "I didn't believe in myself and consequently took the Villa Vergano climb too far back. I chucked it away."

Most pundits argued that Vincenzo Nibali had also sabotaged his own chances. The Sicilian pandered to the calls for a rousing finale to a miserable season for Italian riders with an attack as exciting as it was unwise. The Liquigas captain had jumped at the foot of the Ghisallo, 55km from the finish, and soon built an advantage of nearly two minutes. Behind, though, Team Sky hit the front of a still sizeable peloton and reeled him in on the 16 kilometres of flat road before the start of the Villa Vergano climb. Sky's attempts to seize first place in the UCI World Tour team rankings from Gilbert's Omega-Pharma, alas, turned out to be in vain.

Nibali claimed that he was caught because of the restyled course, or at least hinted there was too much time for recovery between its three major obstacles - the Valcava, the Colma di Sormano and the Ghisallo. "It would have been different on last year's course," he said. He had a point but not an excuse. Like his old mountain domestique Zaugg, he had done his recces and liked what he had seen; unlike Zaugg, he had inexplicably decided that a single rider could escape on a route which alternated long climbs, long descents and long flat sections. Either that or he’d been terrified of what Gilbert might do on the Villa Vergano.

At least Nibali had tried. And finished - more than could be said of 150 riders who started in Milan. The five of HTC-Highroad's already threadbare sextet who had abandoned before the Colma di Sormano will have had their reasons, no doubt including fatigue. Maybe Lombardy should take place in September after all, as it will next year. But then there will be no HTC-Highroad in the peloton - and frankly a team of their record and stature owed itself a rather better send-off.

How it happened

After an eleven o'clock start in Milan, a six-man break had enlivened the early stages of a race billed as one of the toughest Tours of Lombardy in recent years. Claudio Corioni, Johan Van Summeren, Andrea Pasqualon, Yukiya Arashiro, Mikel Astarloza and Omar Bertazzo saw their advantage rise to over eight minutes before the feared Valcava climb, plummet to under two at the summit, then rise again to over six by kilometre 108. By this point, though, Liquigas and Nibali's intentions were already clear: under their impulse, the gap was down to less than two minutes again at the foot of the Colma di Sormano climb, with just over 100 kilometres remaining. It had evaporated altogether by the time Gilbert tried a few tentative accelerations at the end of the Colma’s descent.

These early skirmishes were Nibali's cue: he attacked as the leaders took drinks and a breather in Bellagio, and for a moment Gilbert, Jakob Fuglsang, Luca Paolini and Mauro Santambrogio were able to follow. Nibali then surged again. His suicide mission up the Ghisallo had begun. Gilbert, Fuglsang and the rest were happy to let him go, and the tifosi to revel in an illusion which lasted all of 30 kilometres.

The team Sky duo of Michael Rogers and Steve Cummings now assured the chase, handing over to Thomas Löfkvist as Nibali was caught before the first ramps of the Villa Vergano. Martin now looked strong on Löfkvist's wheel, as did Basso, but the speed nudged 30kph; all bets and attacks were off until the Muro dell'Alpino. Here Zaugg applied his coup de grâce. And what a coup - and surprise - it turned out to be.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Leopard - Trek 6:20:02  
2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Team Garmin - Cervelo 0:00:08  
3 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team    
4 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas - Cannondale    
5 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISD    
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli 0:00:16  
8 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto    
9 Carlos A. Betancur Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone    
10 Riccardo Chiarini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I.    
11 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team 0:00:27  
12 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
13 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team    
14 Peter Stetina (USA) Team Garmin - Cervelo    
15 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
16 Nicholas Roche (Irl) Ag2R La Mondiale    
17 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team    
18 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ    
19 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling    
20 Thomas Lovkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling    
21 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
22 Fabio Felline (Ita) Geox - TMC 0:01:11  
23 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team    
24 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil - DCM Pro C.Team    
25 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team    
26 Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo Bank Sungard    
27 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:01:15  
28 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Leopard - Trek    
29 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
30 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
31 Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
32 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team Radioshack    
33 Chris Sorensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard    
34 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin - Cervelo 0:02:39  
35 Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale    
36 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
37 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:05:30  
38 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team 0:06:44  
39 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard - Trek 0:07:14  
40 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas - Cannondale    
41 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling    
42 Steven Cummings (GBr) Sky Procycling    
43 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) HTC - Highroad 0:11:20  
44 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Saxo Bank Sungard    
45 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana 0:12:04  
46 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Omega Pharma - Lotto 0:12:31  
47 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ    
48 Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Katusha Team    
49 Brian Vandborg (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard    
50 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team    
51 Bruno Pires (Por) Leopard - Trek    
52 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
53 Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli    
54 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
55 Andrey Mizourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana    
56 Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Garmin - Cervelo    
57 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
58 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli    
59 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas - Cannondale 0:15:34  
60 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling    
61 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Saxo Bank Sungard    
62 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Team Garmin - Cervelo    
63 Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto    
DNF Bart De Clercq (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Gert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Frederik Willems (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Rafai Chtioui (Tun) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Claudio Corioni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Alessandro Donati (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Paolo Ciavatta (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Francesco Di Paolo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Fabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Julien Berard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Mikael Cherel (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Ben Gastauer (Lux) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Luca Barla (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I    
DNF Omar Bertazzo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I    
DNF Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I    
DNF Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I    
DNF Giairo Ermeti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I    
DNF Luca Solari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I    
DNF Antonio Santoro (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I    
DNF Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Angelo Pagani (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Alberto Contoli (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Andrea Piechele (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar    
DNF Anthony Charteau (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar    
DNF Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Luca Mirenda G. (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli    
DNF Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli    
DNF Diego Caccia (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli    
DNF Davide Ricci Bitti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli    
DNF Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli    
DNF Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Marco Corti (Ita) Geox-TMC    
DNF Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC    
DNF Daniele Colli (Ita) Geox-TMC    
DNF David Gutierrez Gutierrez (Spa) Geox-TMC    
DNF David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Geox-TMC    
DNF Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Geox-TMC    
DNF Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Geox-TMC    
DNF Michael Albasini (Swi) HTC-Highroad    
DNF Caleb Fairly (USA) HTC-Highroad    
DNF Leigh Howard (Aus) HTC-Highroad    
DNF Martin Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad    
DNF Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad    
DNF Arkimedes Arguelyes Rodriges (Rus) Katusha Team    
DNF Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha Team    
DNF Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha Team    
DNF Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Stefan Denifl (Aut) Leopard Trek    
DNF Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek    
DNF Thomas Rohregger (Aut) Leopard Trek    
DNF Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
DNF Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
DNF Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale    
DNF Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
DNF Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
DNF Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Francesco Masciarelli (Ita) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Yevgeniy Nepomnyachshiy (Kaz) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Francesco Reda (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Marco Bandiera (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
DNF Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
DNF Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
DNF André Steensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard    
DNF Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard    
DNF Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard    
DNF Dario David Cioni (Ita) Sky Procycling    
DNF Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling    
DNF Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling    
DNF Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
DNF Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
DNF Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
DNF Matthew Busche (USA) Team Radioshack    
DNF Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Radioshack    
DNF Ben Hermans (Bel) Team Radioshack    
DNF Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Radioshack    
DNF Tiago Machado (Por) Team Radioshack    
DNF Nelson Oliveira (Por) Team Radioshack    
DNF Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team Radioshack    
DNF Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Ruslan Pydgornyy (Ukr) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team