Zaugg solos to win in Lombardia

Swiss rider holds off favorites after escaping on Salita di Ello

Oliver Zaugg had never won the Giro di Lombardia before Saturday. Or indeed any Classic. Or for that matter a professional race of any description. The Swiss rider won't enjoy the comparison, but the 30-year-old Leopard-Trek rider's victory in Lecco on Saturday was a Lombardy upset in the Raimondas Rumsas or Vladislav Bobrik league.

On a course that lived up to the pre-race hype in beauty but perhaps not difficulty, Zaugg romped clear alone with a powerful attack on the Villa Vergano climb, 10 kilometres from the finish line in Lecco. Best of the rest was Garmin-Cervélo's Daniel Martin, whose sprint to pip Joaquin Rodriguez to second place underlined the Irishman's affinity for Lombardy and hilly one-day races in general. Zaugg's final winning margin was 15 seconds.

Martin could have few complaints. Zaugg's triumph came, as the French say, à la pédale. He proved the strongest rider in the crucial final kilometre of the Villa Vergano ascent, the so-called Muro dell'Alpino, and was faultless on the descent into Lecco. It was on the Muro dell'Alpino that many expected Philippe Gilbert to ride away to his third consecutive Lombardy title. But the world's number one rider seemed laboured, losing 20 seconds in less than a kilometre as the gradient reared up to 15 percent and dropping out of contention.

Ahead of Gilbert, a group comprising Przemyslaw Niemec, Domenico Pozzovivo, Ivan Basso, Martin and Rodriguez had also conceded too much time to trouble Zaugg on the run-in. Giovanni Visconti outsprinted Gilbert for seventh place but, if anything, was the more frustrated of the pair. "It's another opportunity thrown away," the Italian champion, riding his last race for Farnese Vini, cursed. "I didn't believe in myself and consequently took the Villa Vergano climb too far back. I chucked it away."

Most pundits argued that Vincenzo Nibali had also sabotaged his own chances. The Sicilian pandered to the calls for a rousing finale to a miserable season for Italian riders with an attack as exciting as it was unwise. The Liquigas captain had jumped at the foot of the Ghisallo, 55km from the finish, and soon built an advantage of nearly two minutes. Behind, though, Team Sky hit the front of a still sizeable peloton and reeled him in on the 16 kilometres of flat road before the start of the Villa Vergano climb. Sky's attempts to seize first place in the UCI World Tour team rankings from Gilbert's Omega-Pharma, alas, turned out to be in vain.

Nibali claimed that he was caught because of the restyled course, or at least hinted there was too much time for recovery between its three major obstacles - the Valcava, the Colma di Sormano and the Ghisallo. "It would have been different on last year's course," he said. He had a point but not an excuse. Like his old mountain domestique Zaugg, he had done his recces and liked what he had seen; unlike Zaugg, he had inexplicably decided that a single rider could escape on a route which alternated long climbs, long descents and long flat sections. Either that or he’d been terrified of what Gilbert might do on the Villa Vergano.

At least Nibali had tried. And finished - more than could be said of 150 riders who started in Milan. The five of HTC-Highroad's already threadbare sextet who had abandoned before the Colma di Sormano will have had their reasons, no doubt including fatigue. Maybe Lombardy should take place in September after all, as it will next year. But then there will be no HTC-Highroad in the peloton - and frankly a team of their record and stature owed itself a rather better send-off.

How it happened

After an eleven o'clock start in Milan, a six-man break had enlivened the early stages of a race billed as one of the toughest Tours of Lombardy in recent years. Claudio Corioni, Johan Van Summeren, Andrea Pasqualon, Yukiya Arashiro, Mikel Astarloza and Omar Bertazzo saw their advantage rise to over eight minutes before the feared Valcava climb, plummet to under two at the summit, then rise again to over six by kilometre 108. By this point, though, Liquigas and Nibali's intentions were already clear: under their impulse, the gap was down to less than two minutes again at the foot of the Colma di Sormano climb, with just over 100 kilometres remaining. It had evaporated altogether by the time Gilbert tried a few tentative accelerations at the end of the Colma’s descent.

These early skirmishes were Nibali's cue: he attacked as the leaders took drinks and a breather in Bellagio, and for a moment Gilbert, Jakob Fuglsang, Luca Paolini and Mauro Santambrogio were able to follow. Nibali then surged again. His suicide mission up the Ghisallo had begun. Gilbert, Fuglsang and the rest were happy to let him go, and the tifosi to revel in an illusion which lasted all of 30 kilometres.

The team Sky duo of Michael Rogers and Steve Cummings now assured the chase, handing over to Thomas Löfkvist as Nibali was caught before the first ramps of the Villa Vergano. Martin now looked strong on Löfkvist's wheel, as did Basso, but the speed nudged 30kph; all bets and attacks were off until the Muro dell'Alpino. Here Zaugg applied his coup de grâce. And what a coup - and surprise - it turned out to be.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Leopard - Trek6:20:02 
2Daniel Martin (Irl) Team Garmin - Cervelo0:00:08 
3Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team  
4Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas - Cannondale  
5Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISD  
6Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
7Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli0:00:16 
8Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto  
9Carlos A. Betancur Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone  
10Riccardo Chiarini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I.  
11Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team0:00:27 
12Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
13Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team  
14Peter Stetina (USA) Team Garmin - Cervelo  
15Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
16Nicholas Roche (Irl) Ag2R La Mondiale  
17Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team  
18Rémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ  
19Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling  
20Thomas Lovkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling  
21Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
22Fabio Felline (Ita) Geox - TMC0:01:11 
23Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team  
24Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil - DCM Pro C.Team  
25Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team  
26Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo Bank Sungard  
27Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:01:15 
28Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Leopard - Trek  
29Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
30Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
31Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
32Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team Radioshack  
33Chris Sorensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
34Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin - Cervelo0:02:39 
35Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale  
36Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
37Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:05:30 
38Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team0:06:44 
39Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard - Trek0:07:14 
40Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas - Cannondale  
41Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling  
42Steven Cummings (GBr) Sky Procycling  
43Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) HTC - Highroad0:11:20 
44Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Saxo Bank Sungard  
45Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana0:12:04 
46Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Omega Pharma - Lotto0:12:31 
47Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ  
48Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Katusha Team  
49Brian Vandborg (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
50Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team  
51Bruno Pires (Por) Leopard - Trek  
52Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
53Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
54Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
55Andrey Mizourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
56Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Garmin - Cervelo  
57Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
58Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
59Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas - Cannondale0:15:34 
60Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling  
61Nick Nuyens (Bel) Saxo Bank Sungard  
62Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Team Garmin - Cervelo  
63Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto  
DNFBart De Clercq (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
DNFGert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
DNFJurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
DNFFrederik Willems (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
DNFRafai Chtioui (Tun) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFClaudio Corioni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFAlessandro Donati (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFPaolo Ciavatta (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFSimone Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFFrancesco Di Paolo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFFabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFJulien Berard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFGuillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFMaxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFMikael Cherel (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFBen Gastauer (Lux) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFRinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFLuca Barla (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I  
DNFOmar Bertazzo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I  
DNFAlessandro Bertolini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I  
DNFAlessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I  
DNFGiairo Ermeti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I  
DNFLuca Solari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I  
DNFAntonio Santoro (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - C.I.P.I  
DNFAlessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMartin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFSteve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMichael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFGianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
DNFAngelo Pagani (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
DNFAlberto Contoli (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
DNFAndrea Pasqualon (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
DNFStefano Pirazzi (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
DNFAndrea Piechele (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
DNFYukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar  
DNFAnthony Charteau (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFCyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFVincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFAlexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFDavid Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar  
DNFThomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFMikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFAlan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFJon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFMikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFArnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ  
DNFLuca Mirenda G. (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
DNFAlessandro Bisolti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
DNFDiego Caccia (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
DNFDavide Ricci Bitti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
DNFLeonardo Giordani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
DNFSandy Casar (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
DNFPierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ  
DNFGeoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ  
DNFArthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMarco Corti (Ita) Geox-TMC  
DNFJuan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC  
DNFDaniele Colli (Ita) Geox-TMC  
DNFDavid Gutierrez Gutierrez (Spa) Geox-TMC  
DNFDavid De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Geox-TMC  
DNFFabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Geox-TMC  
DNFXavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Geox-TMC  
DNFMichael Albasini (Swi) HTC-Highroad  
DNFCaleb Fairly (USA) HTC-Highroad  
DNFLeigh Howard (Aus) HTC-Highroad  
DNFMartin Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad  
DNFPeter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad  
DNFArkimedes Arguelyes Rodriges (Rus) Katusha Team  
DNFMaxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha Team  
DNFFilippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha Team  
DNFLeonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
DNFFrancesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
DNFMarco Marzano (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
DNFDiego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
DNFStefan Denifl (Aut) Leopard Trek  
DNFMaxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek  
DNFThomas Rohregger (Aut) Leopard Trek  
DNFEros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFDamiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFDominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFPaolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFCristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFAngel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFImanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFJesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFBenat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFSergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFRuben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFPablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFAndrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
DNFFrancesco Masciarelli (Ita) Pro Team Astana  
DNFAlexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
DNFDmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
DNFEvgeny Petrov (Rus) Pro Team Astana  
DNFYevgeniy Nepomnyachshiy (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
DNFDavide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFDries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFFrancesco Reda (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFKevin De Weert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFMatteo Trentin (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFMarco Bandiera (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFSylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFBauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
DNFBram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
DNFLaurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
DNFAndré Steensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard  
DNFMatteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard  
DNFDario David Cioni (Ita) Sky Procycling  
DNFChristian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling  
DNFXabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling  
DNFThomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFDaniel Lloyd (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
DNFGabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
DNFSep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
DNFMatthew Busche (USA) Team Radioshack  
DNFPhilip Deignan (Irl) Team Radioshack  
DNFBen Hermans (Bel) Team Radioshack  
DNFMichal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Radioshack  
DNFTiago Machado (Por) Team Radioshack  
DNFNelson Oliveira (Por) Team Radioshack  
DNFHaimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team Radioshack  
DNFStijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFMatteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFMarcello Pavarin (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFRuslan Pydgornyy (Ukr) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFWouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFWouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  


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