This year's Il Lombardia will see the winners of the last three editions of the final cycling monument of the season fight for victory in northern Italy.
Orica-Scott's Esteban Chaves, winner in 2016, Bahrain-Merida's Vincenzo Nibali, winner in 2015, and and Quick-Step's Daniel Martin, winner in 2014, have all been confirmed by race organiser RCS Sport, with a series of other big-name contenders expected to challenge in the so-called "Race of the Falling Leaves". Once the final major race of the season and the WorldTour calendar, the Italian classic now comes before the Tour of Turkey and the new Tour of Guangxi in China.
Stand-out names on the provisional entry list include Giro d'Italia winner and new world time trial champion Tom Dumoulin and his Team Sunweb teammate Michael Matthews, plus Frenchman Warren Barguil who is likely to race for the last time in the black and white team colours before his move to Fortuneo-Oscaro.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) will also ride after testing his form at the Tre Vali Varesine and Milano-Torino races on Tuesday and Thursday. Fellow Colombian Rigoberto Urán and Vuelta a España mountains classification winner Davide Villella lead the Cannondale-Drapac team, while Fabio Aru and Miguel Ángel López lead Astana, in what is likely to be the final race for Aru in Astana sky blue before his move to UAE Team Emirates for 2018.
Vincenzo Nibali leads Bahrain-Merida and will be looking for a second victory after winning in Como in 2015. He has the support of Giovanni Visconti and Franco Pellizotti.
Adam Yates will team up with Chaves at Orica-Scott, while Philippe Gilbert and Julian Alaphilippe will support Dan Martin. Mikel Landa is part of Team Sky's line up that includes 2016 runner-up Diego Rosa, Michal Kwiatkowski and probably Gianni Moscon. Other marquee names include Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe).
25 teams for 247km of racing in the Lombardy hills
A total of 25 teams of eight rider will ride Il Lombardia, with Androni Giocattoli, Cofidis, Gazprom-Rusvelo, Bardiani-CSF, Direct Energie, Nippo-Vini Fantini and Wilier Triestina securing the seven wild invitations.
This year the route for 111th edition of Il Lombardia has switched to that used until 2015, when Vincenzo Nibali won alone with a late attack. The 247km parcours includes 4,000 metres of climbing. The final 80 kilometres include the climb to the Madonna del Ghisallo and the incredibly steep Muro di Sormano (two kilometres at 15 per cent) before the final climb of San Fermo della Battaglia overlooking Lake Como.
On Sunday, October 8, the official Il Lombardia Gran Fondo will cover many of the same roads, starting and arriving in Como.
Cyclingnews will have full live coverage of Il Lombardia, followed by a race report, photo gallery and exclusive news and interviews.
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