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.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team||5:32:54|
|2||George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma||0:00:31|
|3||Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana Pro Team||0:00:51|
|4||Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo||0:01:19|
|5||Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:01:40|
|6||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:03:31|
|7||Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:04:31|
|8||Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||0:05:20|
|9||Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation||0:06:00|
|10||Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||0:06:28|
|11||Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team||0:06:51|
|12||Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||0:08:15|
|13||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Team Ineos|
|14||Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling||0:10:05|
|15||Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis||0:10:09|
|16||Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team||0:10:18|
|17||Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling||0:10:25|
|18||Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM|
|19||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb|
|20||Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team|
|21||Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|22||Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Israel Start-Up Nation|
|23||Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Start-Up Nation|
|24||Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:10:31|
|25||Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) Ag2R La Mondiale||0:10:56|
|26||Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:11:04|
|27||Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo|
|28||Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team||0:12:55|
|29||Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling||0:12:56|
|30||Simone Petilli (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert|
|31||Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|32||Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb||0:12:59|
|33||Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Circus-Wanty Gobert||0:13:04|
|34||Jesper Hansen (Den) Cofidis||0:13:10|
|35||Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|36||Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren|
|37||Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:13:19|
|38||Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix||0:14:05|
|39||Andrea Garosio (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM||0:14:28|
|40||Edward Dunbar (Irl) Team Ineos|
|41||Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:14:31|
|42||Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren|
|43||Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM||0:14:44|
|44||Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R la Mondiale|
|45||Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|46||Sergei Chernetskii (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo|
|47||Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|48||Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|49||Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'||0:15:43|
|50||Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb||0:16:21|
|51||Petr Vakoč (Cze) Alpecin - Fenix||0:16:43|
|52||Harold Alfonso Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana Pro Team||0:16:45|
|53||Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:17:50|
|54||Lawrence Warbasse (USA) AG2R la Mondiale|
|55||Georg Zimmermann (Ger) CCC Team|
|56||Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Ineos|
|57||Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep|
|58||Ivan Rovny (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo|
|59||Einer Augusto Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team|
|60||Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates|
|61||Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates||0:18:43|
|62||Aleksei Rybalkin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo||0:20:08|
|63||Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-Rusvelo|
|64||Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb||0:20:20|
|65||Florian Stork (Ger) Team Sunweb|
|66||Kamil Malecki (Pol) CCC Team|
|67||Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|68||Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|69||Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix|
|70||Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|71||Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale|
|72||Chris Harper (Aus) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|73||Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis|
|74||Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo|
|75||Davide Gabburo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||0:20:55|
|76||Floris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix||0:21:11|
|77||Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Pro Cycling||0:22:42|
|78||Stefan De Bod (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling||0:24:16|
|79||Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team|
|80||Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana Pro Team|
|81||Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Eth) Mitchelton-Scott|
|82||Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar Team|
|83||Matteo Spreafico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||0:25:29|
|84||Juan Diego Alba Bolivar (Col) Movistar Team|
|85||Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:25:57|
|OTL||Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) EF Pro Cycling|
|OTL||Michal Paluta (Pol) CCC Team|
|OTL||Juri Hollmann (Ger) Movistar Team|
|OTL||Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|OTL||Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|OTL||Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale|
|OTL||Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation|
|OTL||Théo Delacroix (Fra) Circus - Wanty Gobert|
|OTL||Romain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|OTL||Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ|
|OTL||Attila Valter (Hun) CCC Team|
|OTL||Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis|
|OTL||Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|OTL||Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|OTL||Benjamin King (USA) NTT Pro Cycling|
|OTL||James Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation|
|OTL||Manuel Senni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|OTL||Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus - Wanty Gobert|
|DNF||Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo|
|DNF||Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale|
|DNF||Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R la Mondiale|
|DNF||Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix|
|DNF||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix|
|DNF||Nicola Bagioli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|DNF||Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|DNF||Luca Chirico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|DNF||Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|DNF||Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team|
|DNF||Davide Martinelli (Ita) Astana Pro Team|
|DNF||Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain McLaren|
|DNF||Eros Capecchi (Ita) Bahrain McLaren|
|DNF||Scott Davies (GBr) Bahrain McLaren|
|DNF||Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain McLaren|
|DNF||Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain McLaren|
|DNF||Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|DNF||Francesco Romano (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|DNF||Daniel Savini (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|DNF||Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Jasper De Plus (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert|
|DNF||Tom Devriendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert|
|DNF||Fernando Barcelo Aragon (Spa) Cofidis|
|DNF||Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis|
|DNF||Attilio Viviani (Ita) Cofidis|
|DNF||Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep|
|DNF||João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep|
|DNF||Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep|
|DNF||Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep|
|DNF||Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep|
|DNF||Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep|
|DNF||Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Lachlan Morton (Aus) EF Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Anton Kuzmin (Kaz) Gazprom-Rusvelo|
|DNF||Denis Nekrasov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo|
|DNF||Alexys Brunel (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|DNF||Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation|
|DNF||Alexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation|
|DNF||Adam James Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Callum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team|
|DNF||Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team|
|DNF||Benjamin Dyball (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Enrico Gasparotto (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Gino Mäder (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Matteo Sobrero (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Danilo Wyss (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Ineos|
|DNF||Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Ineos|
|DNF||Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Team Ineos|
|DNF||Ben Swift (GBr) Team Ineos|
|DNF||Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|DNF||Paul Martens (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|DNF||Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|DNF||Nico Denz (Ger) Team Sunweb|
|DNF||Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team Sunweb|
|DNF||Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates|
|DNF||Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates|
|DNF||Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates|
|DNF||Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates|
|DNF||Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM|
|DNF||Marco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM|
|DNF||James Mitri (NZl) Vini Zabu' KTM|
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