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Giro di Lombardia: 242km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Gregor Brown
  1. 14:41:23 CEST

    Welcome to our live coverage of the Giro di Lombardia.

  2. 130km remaining from 242km

    14:46:59 CEST

    Sergey Klimov (Katusha), Reinier Honig (Vacansoleil), Marco Velo (Quick Step) and Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) have 7'10" over the main group.

  3. 14:50:01 CEST

    "I have no idea how it will go," the Roche told Cyclingnews yesterday. "Last week, I was feeling okay but I came up short in both races on the last lap [he was 68th in the GP Beghelli and 50th in the Giro dell'Emilia]. I was good on the penultimate lap but then on the last lap I ended up with nothing.

    "Piemonte was good enough but apart from the last 30 kilometres, we never went full gas. It was always medium speed all day. That was okay for me. I think Lombardy is quite hard in relation to my condition, but I am going there with the morale of knowing that it is the last race of the season. I want to try to get all the way down to Como in the best condition."

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/roche-uncertain-about-lombardy-chances

  4. 14:53:52 CEST

    Lombardia, 242km, started in Varese, headed towards Como and is now travelling around the lake. It already climbed to Intelvi and Valsassina is next.

    Reaching Lecco, the race follows a narrow and windy lakefront road towards Bellagio, current base of Emilia winner Robert Gesink (Rabobank). The race enters his critical stage from Bellagio, the Madonna del Ghisallo (511m of elevation gain), Civiglio and San Fermo climbs.

    Madonna di Ghisallo comes 44.3 kilometres to race. Civiglio (at 15.7km to go) and San Fermo (at 5.7km to go) will decide the winner._____ Situation _____
    - Sergey Klimov (Katusha), Reinier Honig (Vacansoleil), Marco Velo (Quick Step) and Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) have seven minutes over the main group.
    - gruppo at 7'10

  5. 14:55:15 CEST

    Cunego (Lampre) won last year with a risky solo move on the descent of Civiglio. He finished solo, 24 seconds ahead of Slovenian Janez Brajkovic (Astana) and Colombian Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d'Epargne) on Como's Lungo Lario Trento.

    Cunego's Lampre's team is working with Evans' and Gilbert's team, Silence-Lotto.

  6. 115km remaining from 242km

    15:05:05 CEST

    The work of Lampre and Silence brings the advantage down to 5'50.   The four escapees are in Colico, at the top of Lago di Como.

    _____ Situation _____
    - Sergey Klimov (Katusha), Reinier Honig (Vacansoleil), Marco Velo (Quick Step) and Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) have seven minutes over the main group.
    - gruppo at 5'50

  7. 15:15:38 CEST

    Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) did not start today's race. He had a fever Wednesday night.

    The race started in Varese at 11:20 under clear skies, 12°C. Varese, home of last year's Worlds, has been the start town since 2007.

  8. 15:17:10 CEST

    "To race in this condition does not make sense," said Pozzato.

  9. 15:17:48 CEST

    Giro di Lombardia debuted as the Milano-Milano in 1905 and took on its current name two years later. Organisers introduced the Madonna del Ghisallo in the 1920s. The 8.6-kilometre long Ghisallo was first unpaved, making the gradients even hard to handle. The climb hits 14 percent grades near Mulini del Perlo as well as features more tough sections before reaching the Ghisallo's sanctuary to cyclists.

    The race has finished along the lakefront in Como since 2004, where it also finished in the 1960s and 1970s when it started in Milano. Mendrisio, Switzerland, home of this year's Worlds, hosted the start from 2004 through 2006.

  10. 15:23:11 CEST

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  11. 15:25:52 CEST

    Today's top favourites, in order:
    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto)
    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC)
    Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto)
    Alexandr Kolobnev (Saxo Bank)
    Giovanni Visconti (ISD)
    Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)
    Robert Gesink (Rabobank)
    Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank)
    Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne)
     

  12. 92km remaining from 242km

    15:28:17 CEST

    The front four are climbing through the Valsassina area.  Their advantage is only 3'30".    The climbing tops out at 723m here, and then a descent into Lecco and up the side of the lake to Bellagio.

  13. 15:31:55 CEST

    If Cunego wins Giro di Lombardia, he will tie with legend Alfredo Binda and place himself behind only Italian Fausto Coppi (five wins).

  14. 15:33:58 CEST

    Cunego is currently tied with Bartali, Belloni and Girardengo for Giro di Lombardia wins. Coppi took is five in 1946, 47, 58, 49 and 54.

  15. 153km remaining from 242km

    15:34:00 CEST

    _____ Situation _____
    - Sergey Klimov (Katusha), Reinier Honig (Vacansoleil), Marco Velo (Quick Step) and Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) have seven minutes over the main group.
    - gruppo at 3'30

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  16. 15:36:22 CEST

    35 foreigners have won over the last 102 editions: France 11, Belgium 10, Switzerland 4, Ireland 3 (with Kelly), Netherlands 3, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Lithuania and Russia 1.
     

  17. 15:40:53 CEST

    Cunego received some criticism in from media following the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. He made the lead group of nine cyclists on the final lap, but failed to follow the winning three-man move of eventual winner Cadel Evans.

    "I say to my critics, look at my list of wins," Cunego said. "You can't judge on a single result and forget everything else; you have to take it all into account."

    Cunego is currently Italy's top-ranked cyclist. He won two stages of the Vuelta a España last month, his third Giro di Lombardia title and Amstel Gold race last year and the 2004 Giro d'Italia overall.
     

  18. 70km remaining from 242km

    15:43:23 CEST

    The four front riders are in Lecco, crossing over the bridge.  They now turn right, up the side of the lake to Bellagio.  They face about 4km of tunnels.    Looking up the lake we can see the Alps.

  19. 50km remaining from 242km

    15:56:00 CEST

    Roche is solo on Ghisallo, Velo is dropped.  Sergey Klimov (Katusha), Reinier Honig (Vacansoleil) are between Roche and Velo.

  20. 15:59:31 CEST

    The group catches all the escapees, including Roche. Vacansoleil is leading the charge for Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil).

    Hoogerland edges off the front.

  21. 48km remaining from 242km

    16:00:35 CEST

    Hoogerland is solo

  22. 16:03:22 CEST

    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC), Ivan Basso (Liquigas), Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Philip Deignan (Cervélo TestTeam) are part of the front group.

  23. 48km remaining from 242km

    16:04:04 CEST

    Hoogerland has about five kilometres to the top.

  24. 16:21:15 CEST

    Bear with us - we are having technical problems but are rectifying them now...

  25. 16:27:15 CEST

    We have six leaders - Hoogerland was joined several kilometres ago by his team-mate Carrara (Vacansoleil), Santambrogio (Lampre), Devenyns (Quick Step), Larsson (Saxo Bank) and Dan Martin (Garmin).

  26. 16:28:07 CEST

    They are working well together, trying to fend off a peloton that is chasing very hard. Caisse d'Epargne drive the pace behind, with Rabobank also up at the front.

  27. 16:30:25 CEST

    Hoogerland was caught after the Ghisallo with Larsson the last to get across. They need to work well to fend off this group behind. Dan Martin has shown strong form in training, recently beating Christian Vande Velde's record on the Rocacorba climb in Girona. He's come out of his first Grand Tour with good legs and wants to use them today.

  28. 16:35:13 CEST

    There are many riders in the bunch and so this break will have to work very hard. There was a big bus on the side of the road - the riders had to swing right over to miss it.

  29. 16:35:40 CEST

    The chase is really on now - all the big names are poised for the attacks.

  30. 16:38:00 CEST

    Attack! Hoogerland tries to get clear, but the others nab him. They are on the climb of the Civiglio now....it's going to explode..

  31. 16:38:00 CEST

    Some riders have had problems back in the bunch - a Rabobank rider crashed on the bend...He lost his front wheel on a right-hand corner and has been delayed. Doesn't look like he hit the ground hard, though.

  32. 16:39:57 CEST

    Martin looks to be under a bit of pressure now...

  33. 18km remaining from 242km

    16:41:27 CEST

    That might have been Gesink who went down - we are awaiting confirmation of that.

  34. 16:45:00 CEST

    Evans has attacked! It's all happening now...he tries to get clear. However he's marked by Cunego and the other favourites - he'll have to try again a little later.

    There's a lot of action now, with many attacks being fired off. The riders race onto the descent and the race is spread out in little groups.

  35. 16:46:23 CEST

    Cunego, Basso, Vinokourov, Gilbert, Sanchez are up there...

  36. 16:47:33 CEST

    The riders are all over the road on this descent...it's really twisting and turning. Things are a little confusing right now so please bear with us.

  37. 16:50:00 CEST

    Santambrogio and Larsson are clear alone, being chased by the main favourites. The rest of the break is heading backwards and will be mopped up by the chasers.

    They leading duo are heading towards the last climb - they are in Como heading out for the last wall of the day....it's all going to happen here, folks...

  38. 16:51:28 CEST

    There's a big, big group of riders still in contention...the two leaders have a very slight advantage now. An Astana rider has clipped across - who is it...

  39. 16:52:39 CEST

    Many people trying to get clear behind - the Astana rider who has bridged across to the leaders is Vinokourov.... He's driving the pace now, wanting an advantage before this climb of San Fermo Della Battaglia..

  40. 9km remaining from 242km

    16:53:00 CEST

    They are on the climb now - Liquigas rider Oliver Zaugg has got across and looks strong...

  41. 16:53:56 CEST

    Evans leads the chasers....Vinokourov is now pushing on ahead with Santambrogio on his wheel. Evans still leads, stretching out this group...

  42. 16:54:27 CEST

    Vinokourov wants to take a revenge win. Evans is doing it all behind - the others are sitting on him, waiting.

  43. 16:55:00 CEST

    There's still about 20 riders in that chase group. Vinokourov grimaces and keeps pushing it. Fuglsang is there! He goes past, the other two get on his wheel...

  44. 16:56:10 CEST

    Gesink, Kolobnev, Sanchez and others are quite close... Vino gets back to the front and is followed by Fuglang, but the others are coming back to them.

  45. 16:56:36 CEST

    Fuglsang goes again, taking Vino with him....behind, Cunego attacks, seeking another Lombardy win...

  46. 16:57:01 CEST

    They are about to catch the two leaders....there's a load of favourites coming up, so game over for Vino...

  47. 16:57:37 CEST

    Gilbert goes! He clips away coming to the top of this climb....he's flying...

  48. 16:58:07 CEST

    Evans is distanced but chasing hard...he gave too much at the bottom of the climb. Gilbert is clear, but looks like Sanchez is close behind....

  49. 16:58:33 CEST

    Sanchez will relish the descent, but he needs to get back to Gilbert first....

  50. 7km remaining from 242km

    16:59:00 CEST

    He's bridged across as they near the summit.... Sanchez goes past now, trying to jump away. But Gilbert is on him...

  51. 17:00:04 CEST

    There's quite a few chasing behind, with Cunego and Basso prominent. Sanchez is leading down the descent, as you might expect...he's fast here...

  52. 5km remaining from 242km

    17:00:49 CEST

    We are inside the final 5km - who will get this? Gilbert is in superb form - perhaps Evans decided to ride for his team-mate and was driving for that reason.

  53. 17:01:24 CEST

    Gilbert now takes over as the road flattens out. He's won his last three races - can he make it four in a row, and cap what is an extraordinary end of season? 

  54. 3km remaining from 242km

    17:01:47 CEST

    Getting close to the line, and the gap is approximately ten seconds...

  55. 17:02:37 CEST

    Still dropping down towards the finish - curving descent that would have suited Sanchez, had he been alone. But Gilbert is here and he's certainly not going to allow him to get any gaps.

  56. 2km remaining from 242km

    17:03:11 CEST

    Inside the final two kilometres - two leaders, and it looks like either Gilbert or the Olympic champion Sanchez will win...

  57. 17:03:36 CEST

    Behind, the chase group is quite large, with riders getting back on. That suggests that they are not working as well as they might.

  58. 17:04:00 CEST

    Sanchez sits on Gilbert, who looks back...the gap is about ten seconds, but they can't wait around...this is nervous...

  59. 17:04:20 CEST

    They are winding it up...here we go.....

  60. 17:04:54 CEST

    Oohhhhhh....Gilbert led out from a long way....Sanchez came back at him, nearly got by....but we think he got it. Four in a row!

  61. 17:06:27 CEST

    What a superb run of results for the likeable Belgian - he got it by a narrow margin, but that wheel was across the line first... half a bike length. Sanchez shows fair play, shaking his hand almost immediately after the sprint... Kolobnev took third, winning the sprint from the group behind..

  62. 17:07:59 CEST

    Gilbert said that it is a hugely important win for him - he's clearly delighted. This is the biggest win of his career, adding to past victories in Paris-Tours and Het Volk, amongst other races. Evans is delighted for his team-mate, and rode well in support of him at the end.

  63. 17:09:37 CEST

    Paolini, Hoogerland, Gesink, Vinokourov and Dan Martin were fourth to eighth in the sprint to the line.

  64. 17:24:18 CEST

    Gilbert finishes the European season in style, taking the Coppa Sabatini, Paris-Tours and the Giro del Piemonte before this win today. Kudos to Hoogerland and Martin, who were in the break but held on for those good placings.

  65. 17:58:06 CEST

    We'll leave it there for now - thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed the race. Apologies for our technical issues - fortunately we managed to get things rectified before what was a a very exciting finish. Chapeau to Gilbert, who can head into the off season fully motivated for next year.