This year's Il Lombardia has again flipped routes with the 111th edition on Saturday October 7 covering 4,000m of climbing in the Lombardy hills between Bergamo and Como.
The 2016 race started in Como and ended in Bergamo with Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) beating Diego Rosa (Astana) and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac). The start and finish swap for 2017, returning the route and finale often used in the past and most recently in 2015 when Vincenzo Nibali won alone. It includes the climb to the Madonna del Ghisallo and the incredibly steep Muro di Sormano before the finale overlooking Como.
On Sunday 8 October, the official Il Lombardia Gran Fondo will cover many of the same roads, starting and arriving in Como.
Il Lombardia is considered the hardest one-day Classic of the season and is affectionately known as 'The race of the falling leaves' for its route through the autumnal Lombardy hills.
The 2017 route includes the Colle Gallo and then the Colle Brianza at the mid-way point. The finale of the race starts on the shores of Lake Como with the legendary Madonna del Ghisallo climb up to the cyclists' chapel and museum. It is followed by the incredibly steep Muro di Sormano after 190km.
The 'Wall' of Sormano is only 1.9km long but has an average gradient of 15.8% with some sections at 25% as it zigzags up the side of the hill. The Madonna del Ghisallo and the Muro di Sormano are likely to kick off the decisive racing and shake out the peloton, with the Civiglio and San Fermo della Battaglia climbs expected to decide the final winner and podium places.
The likes of Philippe Gilbert and Nibali have used the San Fermo della Battaglia to attack and drop their rivals before going on to the blast down the descent to the finish on the shores of Lake Como.
Cyclingnews will have extensive coverage of Il Lombardia on Saturday October 7, with live updates, a race report, photo gallery, news and interviews.