Nibali, Moscon and Valverde line up at 'The Race of the Falling Leaves'
It's called Il Lombardia these days, but what was known to English speakers as the Tour of Lombardy for so long remains one of the sport's oldest and most romantic of one-day races, enjoying the poetic nickname of 'The Race of the Falling Leaves'.
Autumn wouldn't seem like the ideal time for one of the best races of the season, but the scenery – with the race based around the stunning Lake Como, which includes the climb of the magnificent Ghisallo – as well as the opportunity to see the new world champion in their fresh white jersey with the rainbow stripes, which in this case is Movistar's Alejandro Valverde, makes this a must-see event for fans.
While many of the big names have already drawn their seasons to a close by this point, either through fatigue or injury, for others the chance to notch up a Monument on their palmarès is too good an opportunity to miss.
The race was first held in 1905, and it's none other than cycling legend Fausto Coppi who holds the record for the most number of wins at the race, with five.
While Great Britain has dominated this season's Grand Tours, with Team Sky's Chris Froome winning the Giro d'Italia, his teammate Geraint Thomas taking the Tour de France title, and Mitchelton-Scott's Simon Yates coming up with the goods at the Vuelta a España, Tom Simpson remains the only British winner of Lombardy, having taken the title in 1965.
The Irish, meanwhile, can look back fondly on Sean Kelly's wins in 1983, 1985 and 1991, while Dan Martin finally managed to land his own Lombardy win in 2014, having crashed on the last corner the year before when in the frame for a podium spot, and having had to settle for fourth place instead.
Martin (UAE Team Emirates) will be back, along with defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida). Team Sky's Gianni Moscon – third last year – looks like a good bet for the win this year, having been on flying form over the past month, but there's no start for Quick-Step's Julian Alaphilippe – second here in 2017 – who has decided to end his season, citing exhaustion.
2017 Il Lombardia Top 10
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||6:15:29|
|2||Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors||0:00:28|
|3||Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky||0:00:38|
|4||Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale|
|5||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ|
|6||Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale|
|7||Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team|
|8||Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky||0:00:40|
|9||Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team||0:00:42|
|10||Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Astana Pro Team||0:00:47|