Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) closed out his season with 11th place at Il Lombardia on Saturday, sticking with the best until the final attacks fromPrimož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) relegated him to the role of chaser.
The reigning world champion finished 1:31 down on winner Pinot in a five-man group that also included Egan Bernal (Team Sky), Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac), Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ) and Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott).
“I felt the tiredness of this long season a bit today," Valverde said in a post on his team's website. "I didn’t really feel bad and was able to stay close to the top contenders all day, struggling but fighting into those final climbs. However, you’ve got to be honest: there were some of the best in the world in this race, and they might have come to this race in better condition."
Valverde was in the much-reduced peloton when Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) attacked at the top of the Sormano climb and blew the race apart. Toward the top, Nibali and Thibaut Pinot jumped out of the group, eventually catching Roglič and being joined by Bernal as well. Pinot eventually attacked Nibali with 14km to go and held off the defending champion for the win.
Valverde simply lacked the horsepower to go with the winning moves, but in a season that has seen him take 14 wins, topped off with the world championship in last month in Austria, the 39-year-old Spaniard said he was not disappointed with his Lombardia result.
"Disappointed about not winning? Not at all – not if you consider how I’ve fared this season," Valverde said. "I’d be sad if I wasn’t able to stay on the bike and had to DNF, but I had on my mind this was one of today’s likely scenarios. I can only be satisfied about my 2018 season and this rainbow jersey on my chest.”