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New route for Italian Classic in 2011
The Tour of Lombardy will finish in Lecco in 2011 and 2012 after race organisers RCS Sport signed an agreement with the town on Wednesday.
The move marks a new departure for the race after seven consecutive finishes in Como. For much of the 1990s, the race ended in Bergamo, while Milan and Monza have also hosted the finish of the Classic.
Situated on the shores of Lake Como, Lecco has consistently featured on the route of the Tour of Lombardy throughout its 106-year history, but 2011 will be the first time the race finishes in the town. Lecco, immortalised in Alessandro Manzoni's canonical nineteenth-century novel I promessi sposi, is also bidding to host a stage of the 2012 Giro d’Italia.
The newly-installed head of RCS’ cycling organisational structure Michele Acquarone confirmed that the race will again start from outside regional government offices in Milan, and explained that the finish is set to rotate between different Lombard towns in the years to come.
“I confirm our decision to keep the start at the Palazzo Lombardia in Milan and to rotate the finish towns in order to show off the beauty of the Lombardy region,” Acquarone said.
It remains to be seen what route will be chosen between Milan and Lecco. Last year, the race followed a clockwise course around Lake Como, and tackled the climbs of the Madonna del Ghisallo and Colma di Sormano after passing through Lecco with 85km still to race.
The climb of San Fermo di Battaglia near Como has been of crucial importance in the finale in recent years, not least last season when Philippe Gilbert dropped Michele Scarponi en route to victory. It is not clear what the final difficulty of the 2011 edition will be, but the summit of the Colle di Balisio is just 9km from Lecco and has been a fixture of the route over the past number of years.