Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) added to his already impressive palmarès with a fine second place behind Vincenzo Nibali in Il Lombardia on Saturday, adding to his podium placings in two other Monuments, this year's Milan-San Remo and the 2015 Liège–Bastogne–Liège.
After winning the points classification and taking fifth overall in Paris-Nice, the 25-year-old's season was interrupted by a knee injury that kept him out of the Ardennes Classics, but he rebounded with a stage win in the Vuelta a España and nearly successful attack at the UCI Road World Championships before landing on the podium with a solo attack in Como.
"It's incredible, I wasn't expecting to be on the podium today," Alaphilippe said. "After the World Championships, I kept my focus and arrived here very motivated. I did my best when Nibali attacked, but couldn't follow him, so I decided to ride my own tempo and see how that goes. I didn't win, but I can't say I am disappointed. To finish on the podium of a Monument is something special and it makes me happy to see my legs are so strong in the month of October."
Alaphilippe was in the elite group at the head of the race when Thibaut Pinot sparked what would be the race-winning breakaway. Nibali waited, then put in a stinging effort to bridge that left the others behind. Alaphilippe, unable to respond to Nibali's surge, waited out the next 12km before making his move on the final climb and then holding a 10-second advantage over the chasers at the line.
He will now head to China for the inaugural Tour of Guangxi.