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Gilbert repeat victor of Giro di Lombardia

By:
Stephen Farrand

Belgian solos to victory in Como

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) reaffirmed his immense talent for the toughest classics in cycling by taking his second successive victory at the Tour of Lombardy.

Gilbert looked the strongest rider throughout the new finale of the race, handling the heavy rain and cold conditions far better than any of his rivals.

After putting all his rivals to the sword in the final hour of the race, he dropped Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) over the top of the final San Fermo di Battaglia climb to win the final classic of the year alone. He waved and smiled as he crossed the finish line, savouring his second consecutive victory on the shores of Lake Como.

"This year it was a lot more difficult to win and the weather made it even worse,” Gilbert said after lifting the winner's trophy.

"This race is really hard to win and I had to go deep. We had to make huge efforts in the finale and for a long time there was a head wind. It was 45 minutes at 100 percent."

Scarponi finished 12 seconds later but it seemed much more, such was the superiority of Gilbert. He was rightly satisfied with second after trying his hardest to take on Gilbert. Pablo Lastras (Caisse d'Epargne) was a surprise third at 55 seconds, proving he is also one of the hard men of the peloton.

195 starters, only 34 finishers

195 riders rolled out of Milan, happy to get the last race of the season underway but only 34 made it to the finish on Como. The riders crossed the line alone or in small groups, with the pain of racing in the cold and wet for most of the 260km, carved deep in their faces.

Gilbert was the only one smiling. He was patently the most on-form man in the race and his win was born as much of his strength of mind as the strength in his legs.

As usual the early action fast and furious, with the early break consisting of six riders: Tony Gallopin (Cofidis), Gianluca Mirenda (ISD-Neri), Diego Caccia (ISD-Neri), Mauro Da Dalto (Lampre-Farnese Vini), Kjeil Carlström (Team Sky) and Michael Albasini (HTC-Columbia).

They went clear after 15km and opened a seven-minute lead but Gilbert's Omega Pharma-Lotto team worked solidly to keep them in check during the long circuit of Lake Como.

The Belgian team has been criticised for its poor results in the past but the riders always raise their game when Gilbert is at his best and they stoically whittled down the gap before also shaking out the group of favourites; first on the Madonna del Ghisallo climb up from the lake shore and then on the new Colma di Sormano climb.

Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti (ISD-Neri) and Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) went away from the bunch on the Ghisallo and got across to the remnants of the break. Albasini was clear alone but the Sormano climb was long and hard and reshuffled the race.

Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) surged across to the front group and then dropped the others but his move was far too early and far too ambitious.

The real race began on the treacherous descent of the Sormano. Gilbert went to the front in order to negate the threat from Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) and show he was in control.

The twisting descent split the front group into a long broken line of riders, with Gilbert leading Nibali, Lastras and Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack).

When Nibali crashed on a hairpin corner, landing on his chest and looking stunned and defeated, Gilbert accelerated to make sure he would not get back on. It was perhaps a key moment of the race, making victory much simpler for Gilbert.

The rest of the descent and the fast run-in to Como turned into a pursuit match as Gilbert drove on the front. Scarponi emerged as the best chaser and managed to get across to Gilbert after a long, solo effort. He was the only one to make it but would pay for it later, while the likes of Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) formed the first chase group.

The final climb of San Fermo above Como decided the race and Gilbert simply toyed with Scarponi, who seemed to be bluffing his way to the finish in the hope of having a chance in the sprint.

The two rode shoulder-to-shoulder most of the way up the climb, even touching as they fought the gradient and tried to handle the rough roads. However, Gilbert’s expression was one of supreme control and smooth pedalling backed by immense strength.

After eyeing up his prey, Gilbert seemed to switch to the big chain ring and that was enough to distance Scarponi, who also had a brief gear problem. The gap was made and the race was over.

Gilbert wisely took no chances on the descent into Como but was in total control and won by 12 seconds ahead of Scarponi, while Pablo Lastras (Caisse d’Epargne) clipped off the front of the Nibali group to take third. Behind, Fuglsang out-sprinted the Italian for fourth place, and a second successive season ended with success for Gilbert and without an Italian classics victory.

Full Results
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 6:46:32  
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:12  
3 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:00:55  
4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:08  
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
6 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:01:12  
7 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:02:07  
8 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:03:01  
9 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick Step 0:03:25  
10 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha 0:03:50  
11 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team Katusha 0:04:24  
12 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne 0:05:13  
13 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank    
14 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step 0:05:32  
15 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram 0:05:52  
16 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:06:00  
17 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Acqua & Sapone 0:06:10  
18 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Team Katusha    
19 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Doimo    
20 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia    
21 Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack    
22 Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:41  
23 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:08:23  
24 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:09:38  
25 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Team Radioshack 0:09:52  
26 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:11:50  
27 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 0:12:30  
28 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli 0:12:42  
29 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:12:44  
30 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana 0:12:46  
31 Thomas Peterson (USA) Garmin - Transitions    
32 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram 0:14:34  
33 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:20:39  
34 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Team HTC - Columbia 0:21:35  
DNF Jan Bakelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Christophe Brandt (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Paolo Ciavatta (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Andrea Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Francesco Di Paolo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Alessandro Proni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Alessandro Donati (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
DNF Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF David Lelay (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Thomas Bertolini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Luca Solari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Damiano Margutti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Fabrice Piemontesi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana    
DNF Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana    
DNF Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana    
DNF Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana    
DNF Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Astana    
DNF Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Astana    
DNF Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Astana    
DNF Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Chris Butler (USA) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Karsten Kroon (Ned) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Jeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Imanol Erviti (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
DNF David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
DNF Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
DNF Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
DNF Francisco Perez Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
DNF Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez (Col) Caisse d'Epargne    
DNF Davide Appollonio (Ita) Cervélo TestTeam    
DNF Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervélo TestTeam    
DNF Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervélo TestTeam    
DNF Joaquin Novoa Menedez (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam    
DNF Oscar Pujol Munoz (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam    
DNF Xavier Tondo Volpini (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam    
DNF Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo TestTeam    
DNF Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervélo TestTeam    
DNF Emanuele Sella (Ita) Carmiooro NGC    
DNF Daniele Ratto (Ita) Carmiooro NGC    
DNF Enrico Peruffo (Ita) Carmiooro NGC    
DNF Sebastien Fournet Fayard (Fra) Carmiooro NGC    
DNF Aristide Ratti (Ita) Carmiooro NGC    
DNF Francesco Tizza (Ita) Carmiooro NGC    
DNF Andrea Piechele (Ita) Carmiooro NGC    
DNF Antonio Quadranti (Ita) Carmiooro NGC    
DNF David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Filippo Savini (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Michele Gaia (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Alan Marangoni (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Marco Frapporti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox    
DNF Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
DNF Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
DNF Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
DNF Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
DNF Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
DNF Anthony Roux (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
DNF Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Timothy Duggan (USA) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Christian Meier (Can) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Giovanni Visconti (Ita) ISD - Neri    
DNF Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) ISD - Neri    
DNF Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) ISD - Neri    
DNF G. Luca Mirenda (Ita) ISD - Neri    
DNF Diego Caccia (Ita) ISD - Neri    
DNF Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) ISD - Neri    
DNF Davide Ricci Bitti (Ita) ISD - Neri    
DNF Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) ISD - Neri    
DNF Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
DNF Enrico Magazzini (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
DNF Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
DNF Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
DNF Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
DNF Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
DNF Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
DNF Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
DNF Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Doimo    
DNF Mauro Finetto (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
DNF Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo    
DNF Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
DNF Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Doimo    
DNF Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step    
DNF Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step    
DNF Marco Velo (Ita) Quick Step    
DNF Francesco Reda (Ita) Quick Step    
DNF Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step    
DNF Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step    
DNF Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team Radioshack    
DNF Matthew Busche (USA) Team Radioshack    
DNF Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team Radioshack    
DNF Grégory Rast (Swi) Team Radioshack    
DNF Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team Radioshack    
DNF Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team Radioshack    
DNF Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank    
DNF Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank    
DNF Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Rabobank    
DNF Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank    
DNF Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank    
DNF Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank    
DNF Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank    
DNF Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
DNF John-Lee Augustyn (RSA) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Dario David Cioni (Ita) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Stephen Cummings (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Kjell Carlström (Fin) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC - Columbia    
DNF Martin Velits (Svk) Team HTC - Columbia    
DNF Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) Team HTC - Columbia    
DNF Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team HTC - Columbia    
DNF Adam Hansen (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia    
DNF Michael Albasini (Swi) Team HTC - Columbia    
DNF Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha    
DNF Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha    
DNF Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha    
DNF Pavel Brutt (Rus) Team Katusha    
DNF Egor Silin (Rus) Team Katusha    
DNF Markus Eichler (Ger) Team Milram    
DNF Markus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram    
DNF Wim De Vocht (Bel) Team Milram    
DNF Dominik Roels (Ger) Team Milram    
DNF Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram    
DNF Paul Voss (Ger) Team Milram    
DNF Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank    
DNF André Steensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
DNF Chris Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
DNF Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank    
DNF Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
DNF Richie Porte (Aus) Team Saxo Bank    
DNF Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank