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Madonna del Ghisallo as riders go by
Final Classic of the year includes several new climbs
The organisers of the Giro di Lombardia have unveiled the new race route for this year’s race, confirming the presence of the Madonna del Ghisallo climb but including a new finale and finish in the town of Lecco.
The 241km Classic traditionally ends the racing calendar in Europe and is the last race of the UCI WorldTour. Philippe Gilbert dominated the race last year and is expected to be back this year on Saturday October 15, along with the newly world champion, who traditionally shows his rainbow jersey at the so-called ‘Race of the falling leaves’.
The new route begins the centre of Milan and then heads north and east to the twisting 15.7km long Valcava climb. It reaches an altitude of 1336 metres before a fast descent to Pontida. The Colma di Sormano is also new to the race but avoids the steep, narrow road that was used in the '50s. However it is 13.1km long, confirming Lombardy as one of the hardest one-day races in the sport.
The Madonna del Ghisallo climb comes after 195km and will surely be the launch pad for major attacks as riders pass the famed cyclist’s chapel at the summit. A flat road takes the race towards Lecco but the final 3.4km climb to Villa Vergano will be the final test of the race. A six kilometer descent ends just 2.8km from the finish overlooking the lake, setting up a thrilling finale.
"Lombardia is one of the five monument races in cycling. During its 105-year history almost all the great riders have won time and time again. That means it is one the fans and riders enjoy the most," new race director Michele Acquarone said at the presentation.
Organisers RCS Sport confirmed that 25 teams of eight riders will take part. The teams invited are: Acqua &Sapone, AG2R La Mondiale, Androni Giocattoli CIPI, BMC Racing Team, Colnago CSF Inox, Europcar, Euskaltel-Euskadi. Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, Francaise des Jeux, Geox TMC, HTC-Highroad, Katusha, Lampre- ISD, Leopard Trek, Liquigas-Cannondale, Movistar, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Astana, Quick Step, Rabobank, Saxo Bank-Sungard, Sky Procycling, Garmin-Cervelo, Team RadioShack and Vacansoleil-DMC.
Riders entered for the race include Gilbert, Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) who intends to return to racing at the race after his Tour de France crash, Italian riders Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD).