By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Last year's 98th edition of the Giro di Lombardia was one of the most thrilling single day races of the 2004 season, with a ding-dong battle between two emerging young Italian riders Cunego and Basso, while Bettini and Rebellin went head to head until the final meters for the last World Cup title. With its 100th birthday coming this October, there's still life in the old girl yet, as a new version of the Giro di Lombardia, known as the classicissima d'Autunno or the race of the falling leaves, was presented on Wednesday in Como, Italy.
Angelo Zomegnan, Director of Events of RCS Sport, the race organizer for sponsor La Gazzetta dello Sport was on hand, as well as Sig. Croci, Mayor of Mendrisio, Switzerland, just over the border from Como in the Swiss canton of Ticino. On October 15, the Giro di Lombardia will have a new percorso with a surprising start in Ticino. The historic race will begin in Mendrisio, where Eddy Merckx won the World Championship in 1971. Starting in the centro storico of the Swiss city, Giro di Lombardia will then head east via the Maslianico valley and will leave Switzerland and return to Italy via Bizzarrone. Eventually, the race will wind it's way through the mountains around Lago di Como and finish in the attractive lakeside city of Como.
2005 will be the 99th edition of the Giro di Lombardia because two editions were cancelled during WW2 (1943-44). The first winner of the Giro di Lombardia was 20 year-old Giovanni Gerbi in 1905, who won again two years later but was disqualified and Gustave Garrigou, 1911 Tour De France champion, became the first French winner.