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Rodríguez wins Giro di Lombardia

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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) wins Il Lombardia

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) wins Il Lombardia (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) attacks

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) attacks (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) were evenly matched

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) were evenly matched (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Contador and Nibali try and shake off Gilbert

Contador and Nibali try and shake off Gilbert (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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 Andriy Grivko (Astana)

Andriy Grivko (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nibali can only watch on as Rodriguez ups the pace

Nibali can only watch on as Rodriguez ups the pace (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank / Tinkoff Bank) leads the favourites

Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank / Tinkoff Bank) leads the favourites (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Daniel Martin and Ivan Basso

Daniel Martin and Ivan Basso (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) just before his race winning attack

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) just before his race winning attack (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on the way to winning the Tour of Lombardy

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on the way to winning the Tour of Lombardy (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) and Gor Verdugo (Euskaltel - Euskadi)

Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) and Gor Verdugo (Euskaltel - Euskadi) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) crashed and then quit the race

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) crashed and then quit the race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Luca Paolini (Katusha) crashed out with several others

Luca Paolini (Katusha) crashed out with several others (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Luca Paolini (Katusha) crashed out with several others

Luca Paolini (Katusha) crashed out with several others (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Kevin De Weert (Omega Pharma Quick Step) on the move

Kevin De Weert (Omega Pharma Quick Step) on the move (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alexandr Kolobnev helped to set up Rodriguez

Alexandr Kolobnev helped to set up Rodriguez (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Damiano Cunego (Lampre - ISD) couldn't cope with the attacks on the final climb

Damiano Cunego (Lampre - ISD) couldn't cope with the attacks on the final climb (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha)

Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) quits the race after a crash

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) quits the race after a crash (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabio Felline (Androni Giocattoli)

Fabio Felline (Androni Giocattoli) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) solo attack on the final climb of the Tour of Lombardy

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) solo attack on the final climb of the Tour of Lombardy (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) ran out of teammates in the second half of the race

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) ran out of teammates in the second half of the race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Damiano Cunego (Lampre - ISD)

Damiano Cunego (Lampre - ISD) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Ivan Basso (Liquigas) on the front for Nibalia

Ivan Basso (Liquigas) on the front for Nibalia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Italian national champion Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli)

Italian national champion Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rigoberto Uran Uran (Sky Procycling)

Rigoberto Uran Uran (Sky Procycling) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Wegmann works for Daniel Martin and Ryder Hesjedal

Fabian Wegmann works for Daniel Martin and Ryder Hesjedal (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The field during the 2012 Tour of Lombardy

The field during the 2012 Tour of Lombardy (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)

Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal

Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) is checked over by

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) is checked over by (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team)

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) dropped his rivals inside the final 15 km of the race

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) dropped his rivals inside the final 15 km of the race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) wins Il Lombardia

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) wins Il Lombardia (Image credit: RCS Sport)
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Racers on the Muro di Sormano in wet conditions

Racers on the Muro di Sormano in wet conditions (Image credit: RCS Sport)
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The podium at Il Lombardia, topped by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

The podium at Il Lombardia, topped by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) (Image credit: RCS Sport)
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Rui Costa attacked but couldn't stay away

Rui Costa attacked but couldn't stay away (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo NIbali (Liquigas-Cannondale)

Vincenzo NIbali (Liquigas-Cannondale) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) in his new rainbow jersey

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) in his new rainbow jersey (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) wins the 2012 Tour of Lombardy

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) wins the 2012 Tour of Lombardy (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) held off a dangerous chase group to win the Italian classic

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) held off a dangerous chase group to win the Italian classic (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) wins the Tour of Lombardy

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) wins the Tour of Lombardy (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) was too good for his rivals on the final climb

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) was too good for his rivals on the final climb (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) tastes victory at the Tour of Lombardy

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) tastes victory at the Tour of Lombardy (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sanchez, Rodriguez and Uran on the podium

Sanchez, Rodriguez and Uran on the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on the podium

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The 2012 World champion during the Tour of Lombardy

The 2012 World champion during the Tour of Lombardy (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) before crashing out of the race

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) before crashing out of the race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) crashed out of the race

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) crashed out of the race (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Luca Paolini (Katusha) after crashing out

Luca Paolini (Katusha) after crashing out (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Rudi Altig and Felice Gimondi

Rudi Altig and Felice Gimondi (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) went onto finish second after a strong display

Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) went onto finish second after a strong display (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Michele Acquarone and Felice Gimondi

Michele Acquarone and Felice Gimondi (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC) waves to the crowd at the start of the race

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) waves to the crowd at the start of the race (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) was without teammates in the final half of the race

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) was without teammates in the final half of the race (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mauro Santambrogio (BMC Racing Team) leads Rigoberto Uran (Sky Procycling)

Mauro Santambrogio (BMC Racing Team) leads Rigoberto Uran (Sky Procycling) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The Italian fans came out on the Colma di Sormano

The Italian fans came out on the Colma di Sormano (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) climbs the Colma di Sormano

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) climbs the Colma di Sormano (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) on the Colma di Sormano

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) on the Colma di Sormano (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Franco Pellizotti on the Colma di Sormano

Franco Pellizotti on the Colma di Sormano (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Ivan Basso (Liquigas) grits his teeth

Ivan Basso (Liquigas) grits his teeth (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Ivan Basso (Liquigas) grits his teeth

Ivan Basso (Liquigas) grits his teeth (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) leads Il Lombardia

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) leads Il Lombardia (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on his way to victory

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on his way to victory (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) triumphs on a wet day

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) triumphs on a wet day (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Il Lombardia winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

Il Lombardia winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) pedals through the rain to victory

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) pedals through the rain to victory (Image credit: Sirotti)

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) soloed to victory in the pouring rain to become the first Spaniard to win the Giro di Lombardia. He escaped on the day's final climb of the Salite di Ello - Villa Vergano, and was able to stay away from a strong chase group. Second place went to Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), with Sky's Rigoberto Uran taking third.

"This is the most important triumph of my whole career," said Rodriguez. "This for me was a perfect season: I won Fleche-Wallonne, and I took the second in the Giro d'Italia and third place in the Vuelta a Espana. After that I did my best to get ready for the world championships and Giro di Lombardia. In the former, my performance was so-so, but in the latter, it was a triumph.

"I was fighting for a double goal today, to win this prestigious competition and to take the lead in the UCI World Tour Ranking, and I managed both. So I'm really happy."

The weather played a major role in the race with heavy downpours creating havoc on a number of descents. Newly crowned world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) was among a string of riders to crash and subsequently quit the race.

For Rodirguez, the win was the perfect tonic for a season memorable as much for the races he's won as the ones that he has let slip through his fingers. At 33, Rodriguez, who let winning positions in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana get away, is at the peak of his powers and despite a quiet showing at the Worlds, he ends this season not just with victories in Lombardi and La Flèche Wallonne but also with the world number one slot in the UCI's ranking.

Rodriguez laid the foundations for his win on the Colma di Sormano. With a group of 11 riders already up the road, the climb was the first major test for the peloton inside the final 100 kilometres.

Before that point, wind and rain had decimated the field, with less than 60 riders still in contention by the time they reached the Sormano.

Romain Bardet (AG2R), Emanuele Sella (Androni), Steve Morabito (BMC), Stefano Locatelli (Colnago), Johan Esteban Chaves (Colombia), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Cristiano Salerno (Liquigas), Tom Jelte Slagter (Rabobank), Nicki Sörensen (Saxobank) and Federico Rocchetti (Utensilnord Named) made up the early break but by Colma di Sormano, only Bardet and Losada were in contention.

In the bunch, Vinenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador and Rodriguez took turns in testing each other with stinging accelerations. Gilbert, was the major casualty, slipping from the lead group, with Dan Martin also struggling.

Losada, who had initially followed Bardet, sat up and waited for the main contenders at the top of the climb. On the descent, Gilbert, Ballan and Paolini were among those who crashed. The world champion quick to seek refuge in the BMC team car once he was on his feet.

Despite the severity of the climb, and the damage done by Rodriguez and Contador, there was a general regrouping on the descent. Bardet used the opportunity to more than double his 25-second advantage, as the peloton waited for the Ghisallo.

Losada had turned from Bardet's companion to his hunter, sitting on the front of the bunch as they reached the lower slopes of the climb. A brief counter attack led by Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) briefly threatened Losada's task but with less than 50 kilometres to go, it was Kevin De Weert (Omega Pharma Quick Step) who established any form of a significant gap, catching and passing Badret to put an end to the Frenchman's brave attack.

De Weert's efforts allowed Dario Cataldo an easier ride in the bunch but when the Belgian tumbled on the descent of the Ghisallo the race reverted to type as Losada continued to keep pace.

Nibali, Paolo Tiralongo and Laurens ten Dam also crashed but managed to regain contact just as Rui Costa attacked with a shade over 25 kilometres remaining. When Losada finally ran out of gas, Sky and Lampre chased as the final climb and its 15 percent slopes beckoned.

With Rui Costa contained, Katusha again went on the offensive with Alexandr Kolobnev creating a launch pad for Rodriguez's attack.

"Today I was feeling in great shape. In fact, I made my teammates work during all the crucial moments of the race. When I saw that all my rivals were tired and I felt so great, I realized I had a great chance to win," said Rodriguez. "The Villa Vergano uphill suited me a lot."

"I managed to make the difference, to tell the truth I thought that somebody would join me in that attack, but instead nobody could answer and that makes this victory even greater," the eventual winner said. "I think I was one of the favorite riders since the beginning."

By the start of the descent, Rodriuez had a mere seven seconds on Contador. Uran and Henao organised their chase. But on the treacherously wet roads to the finish, Rodriguez was able to gain time as the fractious chasers struggled to gain momentum.

Inside the final bend, Rodriguez had time to celebrate, capping a season in which he has mirrored the level of Bradley Wiggins' consistency in a parallel race programme.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team6:36:27
2Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:00:09
3Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
4Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team
5Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling
6Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Sharp
7Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
8Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Radioshack-Nissan
9Albert Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo Bank / Tinkoff Bank
10Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team
11Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
12Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
13Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:00:35
14Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha Team0:00:57
15Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
16Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Sharp0:01:23
17Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:25
18Jean Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
19Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
20Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
21Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes
22Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team
23Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli
24Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone
25Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre - ISD
26Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:01:30
27Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
28Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:01:50
29Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:10
30Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:02:14
31Jan Bakelandts (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan0:02:26
32Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:02:38
33Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:03:00
34Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:03
35Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team
36Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:04:07
37Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling
38Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team
39Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:04:09
40Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:05:06
41Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
42Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank / Tinkoff Bank0:07:29
43Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank / Tinkoff Bank
44Sergio Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank / Tinkoff Bank
45Chris Anker Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank / Tinkoff Bank
46Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo Bank / Tinkoff Bank
47Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team0:10:14
48Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
49Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team
50Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
51Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team0:11:23
52Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) Utensilnord Named0:13:11
53George Bennett (NZl) Radioshack-Nissan0:20:03
54Peio Bilbao (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi

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