By Gregor Brown in Lagnasco, Italy
Australia's Matthew Lloyd, fourth in Giro dell'Emilia, is ending the season just as consistently as he started it. The Silence-Lotto rider, 25, intends to finish the year in the Giro di Lombardia with something a little more.
"Things aren’t going too badly; at this time of the year it’s just a question of form and of course motivation. Emilia is the course, before Lombardia, that suits me the most and I wanted to have a good result," said Lloyd to Cyclingnews the morning of Giro del Piemonte.
Lloyd marked his spring with strong rides in the Ardennes Classics - he finished 25th in Amstel Gold, 25th in Flèche Wallonne and 16th Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He showed last Saturday at the Giro dell'Emilia that his fall season is going just as well.
Lloyd, working with teammate Cadel Evans, made the final cut of seven riders in the Italian race near Bologna. He could not hold the pace of Danilo Di Luca on San Luca, who went on to win the race. Lombardia is another chance for the young rider to support of Evans and perhaps make a winning move.
"Both Cadel and I live in the area and it is a good place to enjoy the last race of the year. Given the circumstances of the race, Cadel will definitely be there at the end. I am not sure whether I will be there to help him or have a chance to go for my own result."
The famed climb up to Madonna del Ghisallo marks the race, one of cycling's five Monuments. The 8.6-kilometre climb hits percentages of 14 percent near Mulini del Perlo and another sharp kick before reaching the Sanctuary dedicated to cyclists.
"Normally the Ghisallo is the point where everyone seeks to make the selection. After that, it is hard because the groups are split so it depends on who wants to work in those groups and who wants to make the race happen. It is circumstantial and if we are in the right position to be the ones making it happen then I hope it all comes together."
Lloyd heads back home to Australia immediately after taking part in Sunday's two-man time trial at Borgomanero with Cadel Evans. "I am eager to get back home and be with my family. My Italian girlfriend? It is one of the difficulties that Australians face, with family and friends at home and a relationship overseas."