Tadej Pogacar wins Il Lombardia

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) added a second Monument to his rapidly-growing palmares on Saturday, beating Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in a two-up sprint to win Il Lombardia

Pogacar won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April and his second Tour de France in July, and becomes the first rider since Moreno Argentin in 1987 to win both hilly Monuments in the same season, and the first since Bernard Hinault in 1979 to win the Tour and Il Lombardia in the same year. 

To underline the pace with which the 23-year-old is writing his name in the history books, only two riders have ever won two Monuments and the Tour in the same season: Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx. 

Pogacar’s victory took root on the Passo di Ganda, the key climb on the 239km route from Como to Bergamo, where he attacked and went solo from some 35 kilometres out. However, by the foot of the sinuous descent, he had company, as Masnada attacked from a chase group that contained his teammate Julian Alaphilippe. 

Masnada, who was ordered not to work with Pogacar on the run-in to Bergamo, matched the Slovenian’s fierce acceleration on the steep slopes into the old town, but was comfortably picked off three kilometres later in the sprint finish. 

Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) claimed the final spot on the podium, outsprinting Primoz Roglic, Alejandro Valverde, Alaphilippe, David Gaudu, Romain Bardet and Michael Woods as the disorganised chase group came home 51 seconds down.

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

The final Monument of the season was a slow burner as the direction switched after four years of racing from Bergamo to Como, but it came to life on the Passo di Ganda, 9.2km long at 7.3 per cent. Pogacar initially tracked an attack from Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), Bardet, and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) before ripping clear of them halfway up the climb. 

By the summit, he had opened a lead of 30 seconds as only nine other riders remained in contention: Masnada, Alaphilippe, Yates, Bardet, Roglic, Gaudu, Valverde, Woods, Vingegaard. Masnada had attacked earlier on the climb and had done the lion’s share of the chasing on the upper slopes and was even dropped when Alaphilippe accelerated over the top. But he quickly came back on the descent and then shot straight out the front of the group on a flatter section. 

Over the course of 19 hairpin bends, he worked his way across to Pogacar, making contact just as the road flattened out with 15km to go. At first, he appeared willing to collaborate with the Tour de France champion but soon received strict orders from the team car to stay in the wheel, drawing on Alaphilippe’s presence in the group behind. 

That group, however, was not a cohesive one. At one point, they seemed to strike up an accord and closed to within 30 seconds inside the final 10km but suddenly threw it away and drifted back towards a minute. At that point, it was clear that Pogacar and Masnada would fight it out for Il Lombardia. The Italian remained locked in the wheel as the road rose up through the narrow cobbled streets of Bergamo’s old town, and didn’t budge when the Slovenian rose from the saddle and lifted the pace dramatically. 

Masnada even tried to spring a surprise of his own just beyond the false summit but the ease with which Pogacar responded wrote a message on the wall ahead of the inevitable sprint. After dipping down into the home straight, Pogacar led out, opened up, and cruised clear across the line to write his name deeper into those history books.

How it unfolded

With this year’s Il Lombardia starting in Como and ending in Bergamo, the riders rode along the lakeside to the sign-on podium where in recent years they have crossed the finish line.

The new 239km route left many unsure of how the race would unfold but everyone knew they faced a hard day out with six major climbs and 4500 metres of elevation gain.

There was a schools-out feeling at the start, with most riders ending their 2021 season with Il Lombardia. Only the big-name favourite appeared tense, with Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) happy but emotional to end his career at the race he won in 2014 and in Bergamo, where he triumphed.

The early part of the route was on rolling roads to the Madonna del Ghisallo and attacks came from the gun, with Mauro Schmid, Victor Campenaerts and Andreas Stokbro all trying to spark a move for Qhubeka-NextHash. Others tried too but everything came back together until the foot of the easier side up to the Madonna del Ghisallo cyclist’s chapel.

Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty) started the attack that got away and others soon joined him before Jumbo-Visma, Deceuninck-QuickStep and Ineos Grenadiers blocked the road and gave the break their freedom.

Also in the attack were 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) and Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal).

Garosio lead over the Madonna del Ghisallo summit, 2:30 ahead of the peloton, with the chapel bells ringing out and the local tifosi cheering on the riders. Israel Start-Up Nation, Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-QuickStep lead the chase across towards Bergamo and to the Roncola climb but the gap rose to six minutes. Then Koen Bouwman did their work for Jumbo-Visma on the Roncola, reducing the gap to 4:20.

The climbs make Il Lombardia an elimination race and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) was one of the first to be distanced, ending his race and season. Others would soon join him for an early shower and early evening flight home.

The roads were dry and the leaves have still to fall this autumn but the testing descents were still a test and Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën) crashed hard on the descent of the Berbenno with 125km to race, hitting the wall with his shoulder and head.

The race was expected to intensify on the Dossena-Zambla Alta double whammy climb with 90km, with several teams expecting a Deceuninck-QuickStep attack. However, Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel started the climb near the back of the peloton, keeping their cards and race tactics close to their chests.

Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) did some chase work on the lower slopes of the Dossena and then eased up with 85km to go. He will end his season at Monday’s Coppa Agostoni.

The break was at 3:00 and still together when the end game finally began and the first attacks from the major teams were made. Eddie Dunbar (Ineos) surged away as the Dossena began to bite and he was soon joined by George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Neilson Powless (EF Education-Nippo), Ben Tulett (Alpecin-Fenix). 

However, UAE Team Emirates closed them, with Marc Hirschi doing the work. Then Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) tried his hand but was kept in check as the Dossena ended and the Zambla Alta began.

Edward Ravasi (Eolo-Kometa) and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) crashed at speed with 77km to go on the dip at the foot of the Zambla Alta. Wisely, Dries Devenyns rode ahead of Alaphilippe up front.

The attacks came as the climb started, with Powless on the move again. He was joined by Hirschi, Masnada, Romain Bardet (Team DSM) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) as the team tactics again came into play. However, their team leaders were just behind them.

Bakelants was dropped at the top of the Zambla Alta as the break struggled but the peloton was still 60 strong.

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) and Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) crashed on the descent as Deceuninck-QuickStep trio Alaphilippe, Masnada and Andrea Bagioli kicked the race alive and upped the pace on the descent and even opened a gap. Surprisingly, Evenepoel wasn’t there, sparking the first doubts about his form.

The Deceuninck-QuickStep surge was soon caught but the speed closed down the remains of the break and race radio declared ‘gruppo compatto’ with 60km to race. The peloton then eased on the valley road to the Passo di Ganda, eating and drinking and checking their rivals and Evenepoel returned to the front, as did others, giving the big teams several riders for the final of the race.

The Passo di Ganda began with a narrow road and a series of hairpins. The pace was high and quickly proved too much for Simon Yates (BikeExchange). Sono after Evenepoel was seen at the back with Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and soon spat out.

Their race was over as Vincenzo Nibali attacked and ignited the finale with 37km to race. Pogacar soon joined him and then surged away alone in the big ring in an audacious solo move.

His rivals let him hang out front as Masnada for Alaphilippe and then Sivakov for Adam Yates lead the chase. When Sivakov was done, Yates surged away, making another selection. He dragged Alaphilippe, Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Primoz Roglic, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Romain Bardet (Team DSM) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). 

Pogacar led by 35 seconds at the summit of the Passo di Ganda, with 32km to go, while Masnada attacked and bridged across on the descent.

The chasing group worked together to close down a 45-second gap with 15km to go.

With 11km to go, the Deceuninck-Quickstep car came alongside Masnada and commanded him to sit on for Alaphilippe to join, and the Italian was annoyed but complied. As such, the gap to the chase began to fall to 35 seconds.

Then, Yates attacked with 9km to go and disrupted the cooperation, with Valverde latching on and Alaphilippe forced to burn a match to scramble across with Bardet. The group came back together but the antics had hurt their chances of reeling in Pogacar and Masnada - the gap was back out to 45 seconds with 6.8km remaining. By the time there were 4km to go the gap was almost a minute and going out.

Masnada, able to sit on and rest, and on the Colle Aperto, Pogacar couldn't shake him. The Italian sat on into the final kilometre, with Pogacar looking back, watching and waiting until opening up a sprint so fierce Masnada couldn't even draw alongside.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 6:01:39
2Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:51
4Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
5Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
6Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
7David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM
9Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
10Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo 0:02:25
11Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
12Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ
13Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
14Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
15Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
16Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team
17Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:02:35
18Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team BikeExchange 0:02:49
19Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:13
20Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:23
21Ben Tulett (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix
22Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team 0:03:33
23Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
24Rafal Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates
25Michael Storer (Aus) Team DSM
26Amanuel Gehbreigzabhier (Eri) Trek-Segafredo 0:04:28
27Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:05:22
28Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
29Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM
30Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash
31Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R Citroën Team
32Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:05:36
33Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
34Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
35Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
36Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates
37Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
38Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation
39Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech 0:05:56
40João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:06:56
41Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:07:05
42Simone Petilli (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:08:18
43Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:08:23
44Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
45Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team
46Clément Berthet (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:08:37
47Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
48Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Team BikeExchange
49Andrea Garosio (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
50Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
51Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-Nippo 0:11:06
52José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
53Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
54Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
55Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:11:09
56Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo
57Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
58Maxime Bouet (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
59Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Team BikeExchange
60Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
61Mark Christian (GBr) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
62Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
63Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
64Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team DSM
65Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 0:11:44
66Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:14:19
67Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:14:36
68Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
69Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
70Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:14:42
71Davide Orrico (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM 0:15:33
72Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM 0:16:24
73Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Israel Start-up Nation 0:17:13
74Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
75Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
76Dayer Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
77Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
78Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal
79Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:19:02
80Sam Oomen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:19:06
81Edward Ravasi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:19:28
82Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:19:38
83Antonio Tiberi (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:19:58
84Kevin Colleoni (Ita) Team BikeExchange 0:20:21
85George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma 0:20:47
86Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange
87Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Ineos Grenadiers
88Thymen Arensman (Ned) Team DSM 0:21:38
89Mark Donovan (GBr) Team DSM
90Thomas Champion (Fra) Cofidis
91Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
92Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis
93Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis
94Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
95Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
96Daniel Savini (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
97Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain Victorious
98Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
99Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Qhubeka NextHash
100Damien Howson (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:27:59
101Santiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain Victorious
102Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team
103Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal 0:28:37
104Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den) Team BikeExchange
105Alessandro Monaco (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
106William Barta (USA) EF Education-Nippo
107Andreas Leknessund (Nor) Team DSM
DNFDries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
DNFPieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
DNFBenoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFJaakko Hänninen (Fin) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFXandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFFloris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFJimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFPetr Vakoc (Cze) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFJefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFDaniel Muñoz Giraldo (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFFilippo Tagliani (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFNicola Venchiarutti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNFSamuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFRodrigo Contreras Pinzon (Col) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFFabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFAlexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFMatteo Sobrero (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFMikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
DNFMatej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
DNFStephen Williams (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
DNFGiovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFFilippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFCesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFGiovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFEmanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFIde Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFNatnael Berhane (Eri) Cofidis
DNFVictor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis
DNFRémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis
DNFDiego Camargo Pineda (Col) EF Education-Nippo
DNFDaniel Arroyave Cañas (Col) EF Education-Nippo
DNFVincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFDavide Bais (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFErik Fetter (Hun) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFFrancesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFMatthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFAnthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFGianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFJan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFLouis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFChris Froome (GBr) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFOmer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFBen Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFJames Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFChris Harper (Aus) Jumbo-Visma
DNFMatthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal
DNFAndreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal
DNFMaxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFAntonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFWinner Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFElie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFRomain Hardy (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFLukasz Owsian (Pol) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFSean Bennett (USA) Qhubeka NextHash
DNFAndreas Stokbro (Den) Qhubeka NextHash
DNFMauro Schmid (Swi) Qhubeka NextHash
DNFDylan Sunderland (Aus) Qhubeka NextHash
DNFKarel Vacek (Cze) Qhubeka NextHash
DNFGianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
DNFNiklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo
DNFJan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
DNFSimone Bevilacqua (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFMarco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFJakub Mareczko (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFDaniel Pearson (GBr) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNFRiccardo Stacchiotti (Ita) Vini Zabu' Brado KTM
DNSJames Whelan (Aus) EF Education-Nippo

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1