This year's Tour of Lombardy - Il Lombardia - will cover a totally new route that starts in Como and ends in Bergamo, with the Berbenno climb and the steep road to Bergamo Alto likely to decide the winner of the final one-day Classic of the season.
The 108th edition of the race will be held on Sunday October 5, exactly a week after the world road race championships in Ponferrada, Spain.
Organiser RCS Sport presented the new route in Bergamo on Wednesday, with Felice Gimondi – a two-time winner, a special guest at the event. Twenty-five teams of eight riders have been invited to the race. These are the 18 WorldTour teams and seven wild card invitations to Androni Giocattoli, Bardiani-CSF, Caja Rural, Colombia, IAM Cycling, Neri Sottoli and NetApp-Endura.
In recent years the Tour of Lombardy has started in MiIan and ended in Como. This year the 'Race of the Falling Leaves' will start in Como and then head east towards Bergamo after climbing the iconic Madonna di Ghisallo climb and pass the cyclist's chapel and the cycling museum that overlooks Lake Como.
The 254km route includes 3000m of climbing with six climbs in the final 120km of racing in a circuit in the hills above Bergamo. The climbs begin with the Colle dei Pasta (413m), followed by the Colle Gallo (763m) and, after the second feeding zone in Cene, the Passo di Ganda (1060m), which featured in the 18th stage of the 2011 Giro d'Italia won by Eros Capecchi ahead of local rider Marco Pinotti.
After a fast descent through Selvino and Rigosa, the road climbs the short but steep Bracca (600m) and takes in the technical descent towards Zogno and Brembilla. Riders will then begin the key climb of Berbenno (695m), which comes just 26km from the finish.
Roling roads takes the race back to Bergamo for the steep climb up to Bergamo Alta before the fast descent to the finish in central Bergamo.
Il Lombardia last finished in Bergamo when Michele Bartoli won for a second consecutive year. Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) won in 2012 and 2013 and will be one of the favourites for victory in 2014.
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