Il Lombardia: Fuglsang on fire with second Monument win

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) picked up the second Monument victory of his career with a powerful solo attack in Il Lombardia, distancing pre-race favourite and Gran Piemonte winner George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) on the final climb of San Fermo della Battaglia overlooking Como.

Astana had a tactical advantage over Bennett with Aleksandr Vlasov following the surge from Fulsang on the key Civiglio climb. Bennett managed to crack Vlasov with an acceleration on the final ascent but Fuglsang then countered, distancing the Kiwi and descending to Como to celebrate his victory.

Bennett finished 31 seconds down on Fuglsang, with Vlasov third at 51 seconds.

"I felt good but you never know how the others feel. I saw George Bennett was strong and he'd won a couple of days ago," Fuglsang explained.

"In the finale I told myself to wait for the sprint, I thought that I could beat him [Bennett] but when he attacked a second time I decided to go myself and he faded."

Fuglsang thanked his teammate for his surge to rejoin him on the Civiglio climb and distance Trek-Segafredo's Vincenzo Nibali, Bauke Mollema and Giulio Ciccone.

"It was important to reduce the group and Vlasov was a campione today. He gave me a big hand to finish things off."

Fuglsang won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2019 and was strong at the recent Strade Bianche race before cracking in the heat. The race two weeks ago proved to be a vital lesson for Il Lombardia.

"It was a hard fast race. We went fast all day and a lot people paid for that. I learned after Strade Bianche that it was important to stay cool and it worked today."

Bennett tried to find consolation in second place but admitted his disappointment. He targeted the two Italian races this week as his personal goals before turning his attention to working for his teammates at the Tour de France.

"I tried with everything but I couldn't drop him…" Bennett said of Fuglsang. "During the race I felt I had good legs and wanted to attack on the Civiglio. I just couldn't follow Fuglsang that last time. I'm disappointed but in a few I'll be happy for this result."

The action was marred by an alarming crash from Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep), who lost control and hit a low stone wall on the descent of the Muro di Sormano with 40km to go, flipping over the wall and into the ravine. Fortunately, his directeur sportif Davide Bramati said he never lost consciousness and was taken to hospital after being assessed by race doctors.

Neither Fuglsang or Bennett said they saw Evenepoel's crash.

"I didn’t see anything. I saw Vincenzo go on the front and descent at full speed. I was third wheel and saw there were only a few of us left. I didn’t know what had happened but then I asked and they told me he'd crashed. We can only hope he's okay," Fuglsang said.

How it unfolded

The 114th edition of Il Lombardia started in Bergamo with a minute’s silence to remember the numerous local victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. Riders wore masks as per the strict medical protocol, with crowds limited and kept at a distance by double barriers. It was 26°C when the riders rolled just after midday, with temperatures going on to touch 33°C late in the race in Como.

Despite a number of attacks from Androni-Sidermec and others, it took some time for a break to form. Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) opened a small gap at Mornico al Serio but was quickly pulled back. He fared better when he tried again with 187km to race and this time had Davide Gaburro (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), James Piccoli (Israel Start-Up Nation), Petr Vakoc (Alpecin-Fenix), Florian Stork (Team Sunweb), Alexander Riabushenko (UAE Team Emirates) and Andrea Pasqualon (Circus-Wanty Gobert).

They were soon joined by Daniel Savini (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Denis Nekrasov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Emmanuel Morin (Cofidis) and Marco Frapporti (Vini Zabù – KTM) and the 11-man move opened a gap of 3:40 on the peloton at the summit of the Colle Gallo after 54km of fast racing.

Deceuninck-QuickStep and Jumbo-Visma picked up the chase to defend the interests of Evenepoel and Bennett, and the break's lead melted gradually under the summer sun, dropping to 2:25 with 100km left to race.

The Madonna del Ghisallo climb proved fatal for the break, with the 8.6km of climbing up from the lakeshore hurting everyone. James Piccoli was the last to be caught by a very reduced peloton of 50 riders as Dries Devenyns led the bunch with Evenepoel on his wheel. The brutal pace and the heat whittled down the peloton earlier than usual, with even Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) among those distanced.

It was a surprise to see Evenepoel with just Devenyns for company at that point, but he did not appear to concerned, knowing that the steep slopes of the Muro di Sormano would mark the start of the finale.

Indeed, the double-digit gradients hurt everyone, with only seven riders emerging over the top: Evenepoel, Fuglsang, Vlasov, Bennett, Nibali, Mollema and Ciccone. Mollema was last to secure a ticket, with the likes of Richard Carapaz, Diego Ulissi, Rafa Majka, Schachmann and Mathieu van der Poel suffering and losing contact.  

Up front, Evenepoel was isolated and outnumbered, and so Nibali decided to attack the descent to test the skills of his rivals. The Italian dived down the early sweeping turns and lined out the break. Evenepoel was soon in trouble and then disappeared from view. His bike was seen leaning against the wall but he could not be seen. It soon emerged he had fallen into the trees. His team car and the race doctors were soon with him. He was conscious and taken to hospital after initial checks.

The race continued along the stunning shores of Lake Como, with the Civiglio the next decisive moment. Trek-Segafredo had Nibali, Ciccone and Mollema in the break, but all three appeared aware that they were the weakest of the six in front. For once, numerical superiority would count for little.

Fuglsang decided to attack on the Civiglio to test his rivals. Bennett was able to follow him, with Vlasov then surging across. Nibali used his last drops of strength to lead the chase and then dropped off but Ciccone and Mollema also struggled and were still 20 seconds back at the summit of the Civiglio. They bravely tried to chase on the descent back to Como but Fuglsang had Vlasov to do the work and the Russian national champion rode his heart out for his teammate. Mollema and Ciccone got to within ten seconds but then the Dutchman messed up a corner and a gear change. It was symbolic of his and Trek-Segafredo's race, and their hopes of catching the leaders receded. 

Bennett and Fuglsang knew the final climb of San Fermo della Battaglia would be decisive and that focused their minds as Vlasov led the trio on the lower slopes. Bennett made two attacks that put Vlasov into the red, but he couldn't get rid of Fuglsang. He tried another but that only provoked a determined reaction from the Dane, who made his own, stinging acceleration.

Bennett's head dropped and his legs lacked the strength to go with Fuglsang. The Dane was clear and he dug deeper on the final part of the climb, on the fast descent and in the final kilometre, knowing victory was his.

Fuglsang crossed the finish line alone, kissing his ring and pointing to his Astana jersey. Behind him, the top ten was spread across six minutes, with van der Poel at 6:28. Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) was the last on the result sheet, at 25:57. 18 riders came in behind him but were cruelly deemed outside the time limit.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 5:32:54
2George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:31
3Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana Pro Team 0:00:51
4Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:19
5Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:40
6Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:31
7Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:04:31
8Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:05:20
9Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:06:00
10Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:06:28
11Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team 0:06:51
12Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:08:15
13Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Team Ineos
14Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 0:10:05
15Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 0:10:09
16Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team 0:10:18
17Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling 0:10:25
18Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
19Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
20Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team
21Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
22Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Israel Start-Up Nation
23Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Start-Up Nation
24Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:10:31
25Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:10:56
26Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:11:04
27Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
28Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team 0:12:55
29Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling 0:12:56
30Simone Petilli (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert
31Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
32Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb 0:12:59
33Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Circus-Wanty Gobert 0:13:04
34Jesper Hansen (Den) Cofidis 0:13:10
35Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
36Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren
37Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:13:19
38Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:14:05
39Andrea Garosio (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:14:28
40Edward Dunbar (Irl) Team Ineos
41Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:14:31
42Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren
43Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:14:44
44Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R la Mondiale
45Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
46Sergei Chernetskii (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
47Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
48Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal
49Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:15:43
50Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:16:21
51Petr Vakoč (Cze) Alpecin - Fenix 0:16:43
52Harold Alfonso Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:16:45
53Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:17:50
54Lawrence Warbasse (USA) AG2R la Mondiale
55Georg Zimmermann (Ger) CCC Team
56Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Ineos
57Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep
58Ivan Rovny (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
59Einer Augusto Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team
60Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
61Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 0:18:43
62Aleksei Rybalkin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo 0:20:08
63Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-Rusvelo
64Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:20:20
65Florian Stork (Ger) Team Sunweb
66Kamil Malecki (Pol) CCC Team
67Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
68Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
69Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
70Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
71Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
72Chris Harper (Aus) Team Jumbo-Visma
73Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
74Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
75Davide Gabburo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:20:55
76Floris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:21:11
77Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Pro Cycling 0:22:42
78Stefan De Bod (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling 0:24:16
79Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team
80Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana Pro Team
81Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Eth) Mitchelton-Scott
82Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar Team
83Matteo Spreafico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:25:29
84Juan Diego Alba Bolivar (Col) Movistar Team
85Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:25:57
OTLMagnus Cort Nielsen (Den) EF Pro Cycling
OTLMichal Paluta (Pol) CCC Team
OTLJuri Hollmann (Ger) Movistar Team
OTLSimone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
OTLTim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
OTLAxel Domont (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
OTLOmer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation
OTLThéo Delacroix (Fra) Circus - Wanty Gobert
OTLRomain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
OTLKilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
OTLAttila Valter (Hun) CCC Team
OTLMathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis
OTLBenjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
OTLFilippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
OTLBenjamin King (USA) NTT Pro Cycling
OTLJames Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation
OTLManuel Senni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
OTLAndrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus - Wanty Gobert
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
DNFClément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
DNFBen Gastauer (Lux) AG2R la Mondiale
DNFKristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFPhilipp Walsleben (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFNicola Bagioli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFAlessandro Bisolti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFLuca Chirico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFSimon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNFDavide Martinelli (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNFGrega Bole (Slo) Bahrain McLaren
DNFEros Capecchi (Ita) Bahrain McLaren
DNFScott Davies (GBr) Bahrain McLaren
DNFDomen Novak (Slo) Bahrain McLaren
DNFMark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain McLaren
DNFFilippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFFrancesco Romano (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFDaniel Savini (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFJean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFPawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFJasper De Plus (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFFernando Barcelo Aragon (Spa) Cofidis
DNFEmmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis
DNFAttilio Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
DNFRemco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
DNFJoão Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep
DNFAndrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep
DNFMattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep
DNFDries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
DNFPieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
DNFAlberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling
DNFLachlan Morton (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
DNFAnton Kuzmin (Kaz) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFDenis Nekrasov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFAlexys Brunel (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFGuillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation
DNFAlexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation
DNFAdam James Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal
DNFNikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFTomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal
DNFTosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFMikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFMichael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFLucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFCameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFCallum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFHector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFDavide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team
DNFBenjamin Dyball (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling
DNFEnrico Gasparotto (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling
DNFGino Mäder (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling
DNFMatteo Sobrero (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
DNFDanilo Wyss (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling
DNFTao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Ineos
DNFSalvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Ineos
DNFIvan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Team Ineos
DNFBen Swift (GBr) Team Ineos
DNFLennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
DNFPaul Martens (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma
DNFJonas Vingegaard (Den) Team Jumbo-Visma
DNFNico Denz (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFMartijn Tusveld (Ned) Team Sunweb
DNFFabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFValerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFAlessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFAleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates
DNFGiovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
DNFMarco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
DNFJames Mitri (NZl) Vini Zabu' KTM

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.

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