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Il Lombardia 2021 - Live coverage

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Buongiorno! Early start, and that's because we're well into October, and we've got 240 kilometres to fit in before the fading of the light. It must be Lombardia, the final Monument of the 2021 season, back in its rightful place. We've got hills, we've got lakes, we've got falling leaves, we've got a stellar start list, and we've got full live coverage from start to finish. 

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We're in Como this morning for the start of the 115th edition of Il Lombardia, and that means we're heading to Bergamo. Nowadays the race tends to alternate direction between the two locations but we're heading back this way for the first time since Esteban Chaves claimed Colombia's first Monument victory back in 2016. 

Anyway, more about the route in a bit. More pressingly, the roll-out from Como is coming up at 10:20 local time, so in around quarter of an hour, and the race will officially be waved underway around 10 minutes after that. 

Before we get going, now's the time to be reading Barry Ryan's Il Lombardia preview

Barry's preview draws on the strength of the start list and it's worth name-checking a few of today's contenders, just to whet the apetite. 

Julian Alaphilippe, Tadej Pogacar, Primoz Roglic, Remco Evenepoel - just for starters. 

Then you've got the likes of Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde, Thibaut Pinot, Dan Martin - huge in palmares if not in form.

Then a host of other candidates, like Simon and Adam Yates, Aleksandr Vlasov, Joao Almeida, Mike Woods, Bauke Mollema, David Gaudu, Romain Bardet......

Alaphilippe and Roglic have just crossed paths at sign-on

Lombardia

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

The riders are all gathered on the start line and we're not far away now.

We're off. The riders are rolling out of Como's old town. Plenty of arm warmers and gilets on this nippy autumn morning. 

Before we get going, a bit more about today's route. It doesn't look quite as intimidating as recent Como-bound editions, but it does still pack in over 4500 metres of elevation gain. We're still paying a visit to Madonna del Ghisallo, but very early on, while the Roncola climb after 100km will act as an introduction to the Bergamo hills. 

The Dossena and the Zambla Alta climbs combine to reach the high-point of the race at 1257 metres and begin with 90km to go. After a long downhill, it's time for the Passo Ganda (9.2km at 7.3%), which could be the key climb with 40km to go, and could equally be a key descent, as it's followed by a series of 19 hairpins on the road down towards Bergamo. 

Finally, there's a sting in the tail with the steep kick up to Bergamo Alta and the dash back down to the finish line.

We're still in the neutral zone here.

Stephen Farrand has more on the route in this piece, and he's predicting fireworks.

New Il Lombardia route could inspire long-range attacks

Here we go!

We reach kilometre-zero, the flag is waved, and the race is underway

No immediate attacks 

Mauro Schmid (Qhubeka-NextHash) accelerates but it's a cagey start here.

Victor Campenaerts is the next to accelerate as Qhubeka look keen to get someone away. 

Schmid goes again and this time he had a Trek rider for company.

The move is dragged back, a little bizarrely, by Campenaerts, who continues through. 

And now a third Qhubeka rider pings out. It's Andreas Stokbro and he's alone.

The young Dane has a big gap and now come some counter-attacks.

Fabio Felline (Astana) nips across to Stokbro.

The pair have a small lead as things settle down in the bunch. 

Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) accelerates from behind as we head up a hill into the town of Cantu.

Things come back together and now Gianluca Brambilla (Trek) attacks.

Felline goes again now, as Bardiani send a rider to mark it and more ping out of the bunch.

Brambilla hits another kicker and his advantage is cancelled out as more accelerations come

A group of around 20 has split off the front here, but it doesn't look like it'll go clear.

The gap is indeed closed on that large breakaway and the bunch continues as one.

It's a rolling opening 30km and our breakaway selection may only come once we hit the Madonna del Ghisallo.

Another Qhubeka rider tries to drive this race open but he misjudges a corner and that comes to an end.

Campenaerts it was, and Campenaerts it is who tries again now.

Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix), still in arm and knee warmers, is the next to attack. 

Sbaragli is joined by three riders but there's a reaction behind.

Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier is the latest Trek rider to give it a nudge.

Daniel Pearson (Vini Zabu) accelerates on the latest false flat. Plenty of keen riders on the wheel but no gap.

214km to go

We've done 25km now, still no breakaway, and we're not far away from Madonna del Ghisallo, our first climb of the day.

Campenaerts goes again as a five-rider group goes clear.

The riders with Campenaerts are: Chris Juul-Jensen, Edoardo Zardini (Vini-Zabu), Floris De Tier (Alpecin-Fenix), and Diego Camargo (EF-Nippo).

Two riders bridge across but it's irrelevant as the whole races comes back together once more.

Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty) attacks as we reach Asso ahead of the start of the climb. 

Bakelants has drawn out a decent-looking group. Eight riders go after him and there's a big gap already

We're climbing Madonna del Ghisallo from the less steep side today, but we're still passing the iconic chapel at the top, where the fans should be out in force. 

The climb is ramping up now and this is surely where we'll get a breakaway group actually going clear.

Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) is on the move behind this nascent breakaway group.

Campenaerts launches a counter-attack now. He's determined to be in the break today. He's with Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and they're trying to bridge across to that nine-man group. 

And now the road is blocked behind. Finally it looks like the powers that be in the peloton are letting this go. 

As I say that, an AG2R rider breaks through the blocked road and sets things off again. 

The riders up the road at the moment are: Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Domen Novak (Bahrain Victorious), Chris Hamilton (DSM), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo), Thomas Champion (Cofidis), Andrea Garosio (Bardiani-CSF), Davide Orrico (Vini-Zabu), Mattia Bais (Androni-Giocattoli). 

The gap is 40 seconds as the AG2R move is brought under control

Jumbo, QuickStep, Ineos all have riders in the front row of the peloton, on policing duties. 

203km to go

Campenaerts and Wellens make the junction to make it 10 riders out front.

And that's that. Riders stop for nature breaks in the peloton and that's a sure sign that this is a done deal and the breakaway is indeed away.

The breakaway comes to the top of the climb now.

Garosio accelerates as they pass the chapel at the top. 

He's joined by Orrico and the pair start the descent in the lead.

198km to go

The peloton come over the top 2:30 in arrears. 

A short descent now into Bellagio on the shores of Lake Como and then we've got a sustained flat section before the real climbing begins.

Here's our pick of the favourites for today

10 riders to watch at Il Lombardia 2021

The gap reaches three minutes after the descent.

A reminder of the composition of today's breakaway:

Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert)

Domen Novak (Bahrain Victorious)

Chris Hamilton (Team DSM)

Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo)

Thomas Champion (Cofidis)

Andrea Garosio (Bardiani-CSF)

Davide Orrico (Vini-Zabu)

Mattia Bais (Androni-Giocattoli)

Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-NextHash)

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)

Crash for Jaakko Hanninen (AG2R).

Israel Start-Up Nation have taken responsibility for chasing on these early lakeside roads. They have 2014 winner Dan Martin making his final appearance today, as well as four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome making his debut, but their real leader is Michael Woods. 

Hanninen has been forced to abandon. He was sitting upright on the road but didn't look in a good way.

165km to go

The gap has risen to 4:20 on what is the quietest portion of the race.

Here's a shot of our breakaway

BERGAMO ITALY OCTOBER 09 Jan Bakelants of Belgium and Team Intermarch Wanty Gobert Matriaux competes in the breakaway during the 115th Il Lombardia 2021 a 239km race from Como to Bergamo ilombardia UCIWT on October 09 2021 in Bergamo Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Israel, Jumbo, and QuickStep have representatives at the head of the peloton but they're happy to let the gap rise to 5:25.

148km to go

We're getting closer to the second climb of the day and the first major test. It's the Roncola climb and it's 9.4km long with an average gradient of 6.6%.

The gap rises out beyond six minutes now and Deceuninck-QuickStep decide to burn the Pieter Serry match. Ineos run them close but the Belgian team surely have the strongest squad here, with Alaphilippe, Evenepoel, and Almeida all potential winners. Serry is the early-worker but Fausto Masnada has shown his strong form at Coppa Bernocchi and Milano-Torino, while Andrea Bagioli and Dries Devenyns add yet more climbing talent.

The 10-man breakaway hit the Roncola climb with a lead of 6:25.

There's a bit of an acceleration in the bunch as they themselves approach the climb. We've almost got mini lead-out trains. 

This is surely too far out to do anything, but everyone wants to be in a good position.

That injection of pace in the peloton brought the gap down to below six minutes and they're continuing to set a solid tempo on the climb itself.

The breakaway are now on the upper section and all sticking together still.

Koen Bouwman is the rider Jumbo-Visma have tasked with setting a brisk pace up the Roncola. 

138km to go

The breakaway hit the top of the climb, with Bakelants, who forged this move in the first place, leading them over. 

It's a bit of a false crest, as the road continues to rise for a a few kilometres beyond the officially designated summit. 

Bouwman is setting a really strong rhythm in the bunch. It's not doing any big damage but it's strung out and the gap to the breakaway is falling consistently now. 

Bouwman drags this long peloton to the top of Roncola and he has reduced the gap to the breakaway to 4:40, so that's a good 90 seconds chipped off on that ascent. 

A few riders have been dropped from the peloton on the climb. Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) appears to be one of them.

Here's a lake shot to add to the collection

BERGAMO ITALY OCTOBER 09 A general view of the Peloton passing through Lake Como area during the 115th Il Lombardia 2021 a 239km race from Como to Bergamo ilombardia UCIWT on October 09 2021 in Bergamo Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The peloton come to the top of this second crest, musettes are grabbed, and they ready themselves for the descent.

The breakaway are already on it and it's Wellens who looks keen to press on.

Another AG2R crash and it's Benoit Cosnefroy

The Frenchman looks dazed and bashed up and now he sits down against the wall he appears to have just crashed into. His right shoulder is banged up and this looks like the end of his day.

Orrico has joined Wellens out front and they've got a gap over the rest of the break as the descent continues.

Serry leads the peloton down at 4:20

The road flattens out and Wellens and Orrico are rejoined by the rest of the break.

The peloton has split on this sinuous descent. It should stitch back together soon but it's an early indication of how important descending could be in the outcome of this race.

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113km to go

The breakaway hit the third climb of the day, to Berbenno. It's 6.8km long at 4.6%.

The peloton is split in two as they now hit the climb. EF-Nippo are trying to finish the job of closing the gap.

The road is heading back uphill and so Bouwman returns to the front.

The dropped peloton stitches back on now. 

The average speed after three hours stands at 40.370kph

The gap between the 10-man breakaway and the peloton continues to fall on the Berbenno climb. It's down to 3:40 now.

Some transfer-related news today surrounding Deceuninck-QuickStep. The deal for Mark Cavendish is still not done, but a younger British rider, Ethan Vernon, appears set to turn professional at the Belgian team next year. Full story here.

Campenaerts accelerates as the break reach the top of the climb.

Bouwman continues to lead the peloton all the way up.

A sighting of Chris Froome at the front of the bunch, who seems to be in quietly decent shape now at the end of a tough season. We spoke to him yesterday for an update on his plans.

Chris Froome opts to miss British Championships and ends 2021 season in Italy

The bunch are over the top of the climb and again it's Serry who takes control of the descent.

We're descending now, then we've got a section of false flat ahead of the Dossena climb, where this edition of Il Lombardia starts to get serious.

100km to go

139 down, 100 to go at Il Lombardia, and we're moving into the heart of the race. 

For those just joining, we have a 10-man breakaway group that went clear after 30km on the opening climb of Madonna del Ghisallo. They carved out a lead of 6:30 but it has since been pared back to 3:30 over the Roncola and Berbenno climbs. 

We're less than 10km from the Dossena climb, which is paired with the Zambla Alta, where things will intensify. After a descent, it's over to the day's key climb, the Passo di Ganda, which is followed by a tricky descent and a run-in to Bergamo that takes the riders up the steep ramps through the old town before a dip back down to the finish line. 

Jumbo-Visma, Deceuninck-QuickStep, and Israel Start-Up Nation are the only teams who have done any work in the peloton today. 

Jumbo are working for Primoz Roglic, the Vuelta a España champion who's in sizzling form after winning the Giro dell'Emilia and Milano-Torino in the past week alone. Israel are working for Michael Woods, while QuickStep have options, notably Remco Evenepoel, Joao Almeida and, of course, the world champion, Julian Alaphilippe.

Simon Yates, or Simon Philip Yates as he is known in Italy, looks relaxed at the very back of the peloton, which is where he likes to be. He leads BikeExchange here after placing fourth at the recent Cro Race, but he hasn't raced a great deal since doing the Giro and Tour. Always a threat, though.

Evenepoel and Woods are also at the back at the moment but they'll need to be up nearer the front once we start this next climb. 

The gap to the break nudges out to four minutes on the approach to Dossena.

Evenepoel is now shepherded back towards the front as QuickStep set up with numbers, replacing Eolo-Kometa, who had briefly threatened to take the reins.

88km to go

Here we go. The breakaway hit the Dossena climb. It's 11km long with an average gradient of 6.2%

In fact, here's a visual representation. The Dossena ends at 11km on this graphic and is pretty much immediately followed by the haul to Zambla Alta, which is treated as a separate climb in the roadbook.

Il Lombardia 2021

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

Another big peloton acceleration on the approach to the climb.

The gap drops to three minutes again as a strong pace continues onto the climb.

Eddie Dunbar (Ineos) attacks

QuickStep, UAE, and Jumbo send riders to mark the Irishman

The Dunbar move is brought back but Pavel Sivakov goes now for Ineos in a move with Ben Tulett (Alpecin-Fenix). 

George Bennett jumps on the move for Jumbo, and Masnada also tracks it for QuickStep. It's a quartet at the moment and it's going clear.

Reactions behind as an EF-Nippo rider tries to jump across, and manages it. It's Neilson Powless! Strong group, this.

Powless is in the process of becoming a one-day rider. He won San Sebastian and had a brilliant ride at Worlds recently. I snuck my way into the teams paddock at Worlds to speak to him and you can read the story here if you like.

UAE aren't happy with this strong five-man move and are chasing it down through Hirschi.

Meanwhile, out front, Bakelants has had a pop.

Sivakov, Tulett, Bennett, Masnada, and Powless are brought back and Hirschi continues to set the tempo as the peloton really begins to reduce in number.

Tao Geoghegan Hart attacks now! Ineos are trying to ride an open race today. 

No one jumps with the former Giro winner but instead Devenyns sets a chasing tempo. 

81.5km to go

Bakelants is back with his breakaway companions but their lead is down to 1:45.

And now Garosio attacks, and the break is starting to break up.

Orrico, Wellens, Campenaerts, and Champion lose contact

Geoghegan Hart presses on with his effort but he's just dangling out front at the moment.

Geoghegan Hart is reabsorbed into the bunch.

Sam Oomen takes up pace-setting duties for Jumbo-Visma.

And Devenyns continues to chip in.

Alaphilippe tucks in behind Devenyns and the world champ has Evenepoel on his wheel. 

The lead group of Hamilton, Garosio, Novak, Bakelants, Ghebreigzabhier, and Bais enter the final kilometre of the initial Dossena climb. They have two minutes on the bunch.

Hamilton just shoved an empty bidon into a large green recycling bin at the side of the road on this climb, which is probably being clipped and giffed up as we speak by cycling's social media influencers. 

Another crash involving an AG2R rider. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain) and Edward Ravasi (Eolo) are also down but look ok to continue. 

Devenyns continues to set the tempo. This sort of thing has traditionally been associated with Alaphilippe attacks but it's not a fast pace at the moment.

Second wind for Orrico. He has caught and passed Wellens and Campenaerts.

That didn't take long

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Powless attacks!

The American accelerates again on a flatter section beyond the Dossena summit, but a gaggle of QuickSteppers are quickly on his wheel. 

The breakaway begin the official Zambla Alta climb. It's 9.5km long but only averages 3.5 per cent.

Powless goes again!

This looks like a more sustained attack and he flies past Wellens and Campenaerts. 

Teuns was just getting back on but is now in trouble as the bunch splits under this pressure.

Masnada goes after Powless and now there's a little lull.

Simon Yates dropped

Sivakov raises the pace for Ineos and starts to draw a group clear but Simon Yates won't be winning this bike race as he slides out the back door. 

Hirschi, Masnada, Bardet, and Vingegaard go clear with Sivakov.

Another strong move, this, and who's going to reel it in?

Bahrain think about it but Teuns is still nowhere near the front of the main group. More riders set off in counter-attack instead.

Movistar send a rider to chase as the road dips downhill briefly.

The Sivakov group is only 35 seconds down on the breakaway now.

The bunch has split on that downhill section but the groups are close together and now the Sivakov group is caught by the rest of the favourites. 

A big lull as the peloton bunches back up.

Simon Yates and a few others regain contact but the omens aren't good for anyone who lost contact there.

Still out front are Hamilton, Bakelants, Novak, Ghebreigzabhier, Bais, Garosio. They have stretched their lead back out to 50 seconds as they hit the steeper upper reaches of the Zambla Alta climb.

10 riders to watch at Il Lombardia 2021

Still a large peloton, with more than 60 in there. There was hope for early fireworks but this isn't proving the most selective edition of Il Lombardia so far. It should be a different story when we hit the Passo di Ganda.

Bakelants dropped at the top of the Zambla Alta as the break head with a lead of 30 seconds.

Acceleration from QuickStep but this is about positioning for the descent.

Now for a 15km descent and the QuickStep riders are shoving paper down their jerseys to fend off the chilly breeze. 

Crash. An Astana rider slides out from about seventh position in that bunch. 

It looks like a UAE rider was held up there as well.

It's Bagioli going full whack down this descent for QuickStep. He almost misjudged that corner where the Astana rider went down. 

The breakaway are just 17 seconds clear now

Bagioli, Masnada, and Alaphilippe are bombing down here.

Lutsenko and Formolo were the riders who crashed.

Bakelants is back with the break, but not before having to nip around a motorbike in another hair-raising moment on this descent. 

Plenty of little gaps in the bunch as QuickStep apply the pressure.

Still downhill and we're about to have contact from the front of this fragmented bunch.

55km to go

The breakaway is caught with 55km to go but they remain on the nose as the road continues downhill. 

Masnada moves to the front now, Alaphilippe still in the wheel, but the pace is slowed a little. 

The bunch lines out again but all those little gaps have been allowed to close by that lull.

The descent shallows out now but we've still got several kilometres of descending false flat before we hit the key climb of Passo di Ganda. 

Attack from Lorenzo Rota, who has just signed a two-year extension with Intermarché. He's had a good season with 4th at San Sebastian, 4th at Giro della Toscana, 5th at Coppa Sabatini, and 7th at Tre Valli Varesine.

Alaphilippe drifts to the back of the bunch to take off his arm warmers. Roglic also off the back as the favourites enjoy a breather before the next critical part of the race. 

Orrico, part of the day's original breakaway, attacks again. Fair play. 

Orrico punches his way across to Rota, and now a Movistar rider does the same but the bunch is close at hand.

More riders set off now and the bunch lines out. Like that, the Rota move is done for. 

45km to go

Into the final 45 and we're a few kilometres away from the Passo di Ganda. A few riders tried to anticipate and steal a march ahead of the climb but it looks like we're going to hit it with a bunch of around 70 riders.

QuickStep take it up now, with Devenyns on the front and five behind him.

The other teams get organised as well as the pace once again ratchets up on the approach. 

Ineos take the left, Movistar through the middle, QuickStep now on the right.

Roglic is up towards the front but there are no yellow jerseys with him.

Final call for Roglic's pre-race thoughts

Primoz Roglic: It's been a long season but Il Lombardia is still important for me

41km to go

Here we go!

Passo di Ganda begins

This is what it looks like

Il Lombardia 2021

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

Bagioli leads this bunch onto the climb.

Tiesj Benoot moves to the front to take it up for DSM.

Benoot is working for Bardet, who is a couple of wheels back.

Simon Yates is dropped again

Bagioli's work is done. Almeida is up there for QuickStep on Benoot's wheel.

The bunch is thinning out already on this climb

Benoot, Almeida, Bardet, Alaphilippe, Pogacar, Valverde, Roglic

That's the order at the head of the bunch

Teuns is dropped

Benoot continues his charge. Plenty of riders losing contact but no substantial damage just yet.

I say that, but Vlasov and Uran have just been distanced.

Vlasov was on the podium last year and Uran has been on the podium a few times but they won't be in the mix today. Still more than 30 riders able to follow Benoot's pace. 

38km to go

Benoot is done. The Belgian's turn comes to an end and now Ineos take the reins. 

Geoghegan Hart hits the front with Sivakov on the wheel.

Evenepoel is down towards the back of this bunch. 

Evenepoel losing contact

Huge development as Evenepoel, one of the pre-race favourites, loses contact. He's with Vlasov and they are gapped. 

Nibali attacks!

The Italian won this race in 2015 and 2017. His best years appeared to be behind him but he's back to light this one up.

Pinot is dropped as well now and Evenepoel links up with the Frenchman

Nibali is brought back by Rafal Majka. 

But Nibali kicks again and now Sivakov goes with. And Pogacar!!

Bardet goes over to it but slow response from QuickStep and Roglic. Big moment

That quartet is going clear here and they're followed by a group of a dozen as the bunch continues to fragment on the Passo di Ganda.

Pogacar attacks!

The Tour de France champion has ripped clear of Nibali, Bardet, and Sivakov. He's going solo with 35km to go

Nibali, Bardet, and Sivakov are brought back by the rest of the favourites group. 

Masnada attacks from that group now. QuickStep have lost Evenepoel and are rethinking their tactics. 

Pogacar has 15 seconds in hand. Huge ask from here. 

Almeida is struggling at the back of the group of favourites. This is turning into a nightmare for Deceunick-QuickStep.

30 seconds now for Pogacar!

Yates attacks behind!

Alaphilippe sees it and weaves through the group to get onto the wheel. 

Roglic is third wheel now as the pace lifts in this group

Nibali is dropped now after his earlier attack.

Yates drags a select group over to Masnada, who slots in.

Roglic in trouble!

The Slovenian has to pull out the line and then drifts to the back of the group. He's not dropped but it's looking dangerous. Still, brave to count Primoz Roglic out of anything.

Masnada continues his effort and is now pulling for Alaphilippe and the rest of this group.

These are the nine riders left in the favourites group as we head onto the upper slopes of the Passo di Ganda.

Masnada, Alaphilippe, Yates, Bardet, Roglic, Gaudu, Valverde, Woods, Vingegaard

But Pogacar is still alone out front and he still has 32 seconds.

Masnada continues to bury himself for this chase. Roglic is only other rider with a teammate but Vingegaard had to chase back on just then and might not be able to contribute much on this climb.

Masnada, mouth agape, is giving everything here. Brilliant ride, especially considering Evenepoel and Almeida have been dropped. All on Alaphilippe from here.

And now Alaphilippe attacks!

31km to go

Pogacar crests the Passo di Ganda with a lead of 30 seconds

Vingegaard is dropped by that Alaphilippe acceleration near the top but could get back in on the descent.

Alaphilippe continues to set a blistering pace downhill. 

Pogacar nearly comes down! A minute after going to the limit on a left-hander, he skids on a right-hander. 

There are a couple of undulations up here before the sustained part of the descent, and now Masnada comes back into the fold

And Masnada attacks! The Italian pings out the front of this chasing group of favourites. 

Alaphilippe can sit in now and force others to chase. 

Big lull in that group now!

Masnada closes to 22 seconds behind Pogacar, while that group stalls and drifts to 40 seconds.

Vingegaard is back in now and it's the Dane who has to start chasing.

Alaphilippe looks a bit on edge here. Will firing Masnada up the road prove to be the wrong move? Time will tell

26km to go

Alaphilippe is second wheel behind Vingegaard. They're at 45 seconds behind Pogacar now. 

After this descent we have around 10km of flat before the up-down finale in Bergamo. Masnada needs to get to Pogacar before then, so he can sandbag on Pogacar's wheel. 

Masnada almost comes undone on a right-hand bend and he loses a couple of seconds.

Still fast downhill and Pogacar is holding Masnada at 14 seconds and the select chase group at 45 seconds.

Masnada closes to 9 seconds now but the chase group is drifting to 48 seconds

A couple of tight hairpins back-to-back for Pogacar but he holds firm. The wobbles appear to be over.

Vingegaard continues to lead the chase group downhill as the hairpins stack up towards the bottom of this descent.

Masnada closes to within seven seconds as they hit a peddling section.

Five seconds...

3 seconds...

And contact! 

15.5km to go

Masnada closes a near-40-second gap on the descent from the Passo di Ganda to join Pogacar at the head of affairs at Il Lombardia

Just in time. The descent ends and the road flattens out. What happens now? Surely Masnada just sits on and makes Pogacar work.

Vingegaard takes the chase group off the descent at 45 seconds.

Masnada hits the wind. But he gets on the radio to ask his bosses what he should do.

It seems that Masnada is happy to work with Pogacar.

Vingegaard waves his arm in the chase, calling for collaboration. Roglic issues a brief acceleration but this group does not look like a cohesive one.

Woods and Yates roll through now but they're still at 45 seconds with only 12.5km to go

Masnada is on the radio again. He's sitting on now, and appears to have been given the instruction now to work with the Tour de France champion.

Pogacar flicks his elbow but Masnada is not coming through.

Masnada doesn't look too happy here as he receives instructions from the team car. It looks like a gesticulating Davide Bramati barking the orders. 

10km to go

A reminder of the race situation with 10km to go

Leaders: Tadej Pogacar, Fausto Masnada

Chasers: (at 40 seconds): Alaphilippe, Roglic, Vingegaard, Valverde, Bardet, Gaudu, A.Yates, Woods.

The gap falls to 30 seconds!

But now the chase group stalls again!

They take 15 seconds back and then just completely stall again. Bizarre

Yates off the front but mainly because he was doing his turn and everyone else switched off. Alaphilippe and Bardet look to go across.

Alaphilippe, Valverde, and Bardet are over with Yates.

Alaphilippe accelerates (yes his teammate is up the road), but now the group comes back together.

The gap is back up to 40 seconds with 7.5km to go

Woods accelerates but it's difficult to see this coming back given the clear lack of collaboration in this group.

This looks like it'll come down to a fight between Pogacar and Masnada. A reminder that they'll be tackling a steep narrow and cobbled climb up into Bergamo old town before the final 3km dip down to the line.

6.5km to go and the gap is still 45 seconds. 

Masnada sticks to the back wheel of Pogacar. He's sitting in but he has already done a huge amount of work today, before he himself emerged as leader for QuickStep here. A huge ask to rob the Liege and Tour de France champion but what can he muster on the run-in?

5km to go

Valverde is on the front of the chase group but you can't really call it a chase anymore. 50 seconds.

Pogacar leads Masnada into Bergamo. Fascinating battle in prospect now. Pogacar could be about to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Tour de France, and Il Lombardia in the same season. Masnada could claim the biggest win of his career in dramatic fashion. 

4km to go and the chasers are at 55 seconds. They're out of it. 

The road begins to rise but the intense part of the climb is still to come

They hit the cobbles now and pass under the gate to the old town.

Pogacar almost inadvertently opens a gap on Masnada but the Italian is back with him now as they go back onto tarmac. 

Pogacar rises from the saddle and lifts the pace on the steep slopes!

This is it! Bit acceleration and Masnada matches it

Loads of fans up here

Masnada attacks!

The Italian looks to spring a surprise as they head out the old town and hit a final false flat before the descent

Pogacar gets on terms with ease and they head downhill. 3 to go

Bardet lights it up behind but it's only for the podium

Woods, Alaphilippe, Valverde, Gaudu are the only ones who can follow Bardet through the old town.

Masnada settles back into Pogacar’s slipstream as they enter the final 2km

1500 metres to go and Masnada is going to make Pogacar lead this out. He shakes his head when asked for a turn.

1km to go

Flamme rouge!

Two-up sprint incoming between Pogacar and Masnada

Pogacar still on the front. Flat now

Pogacar gets nervous inside 500 to go. He looks around

Pogacar continues to look around., 300 to go now

Pogacar opens it up

And Pogacar takes it!

Comfortable in the end for the Slovenian, who wins his second Monument

Who for the final podium spot? Roglic is back in the mix and hits the front

But Yates sprints through and grabs third place

Top 10

1 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 6:01:39
2 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3 Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:50
4 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
6 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
7 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8 Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM
9 Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
10 Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo 0:02:25

Let's hear from the winner

"It's crazy. After all the season it's crazy to finish the season like this. I'm without words.

"First I thought when I attacked that somebody would come with me but it was such a hard race before that everyone was still thinking about the final. I knew Masnada knows this road pretty well so he'd be coming back in the technical part of the descent because it's my first time here. But I didn't know he was not going to work with me. Luckily we had enough of an advantage for the final climb and the finish.I think after this second part of the season I was one day good, one day not. Today was a good day.

"For me every victory is important. Especially this one because I've been dreaming to start Lombardia and to race with the best here in Italy for a long time. Now I'm here and I took the victory, it's just crazy."

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates wins the sprint ahead of Italian Fausto Masnada of Deceuninck QuickStep in the Giro di Lombardia one day cycling race 239km from Como to Bergamo Saturday 09 October 2021 in Bergamo ItalyBELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM Photo by DIRK WAEMBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Last rider to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia in the same season: Moreno Argentin in 1987

Last rider to win the Tour de France and Il Lombardia in the same season: Bernard Hinault in 1979

Only other riders to win the Tour and two Monuments in the same season: Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx.

Here's our report page, where you'll also find results and photos

Tadej Pogacar wins Il Lombardia

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