For over half a century, from 1905 to 1961, the start and finish of Il Lombardia were Milan’s business. Then came Como, which took over hosting the arrivals until 1985, when the two cities swapped roles, with the lakeside town taking care of the starts and the Lombard capital the arrivals, treating us to suggestive and memorable finishes at the Velodromo Vigorelli, Duomo Square and Corso Venezia. From 1990 to 1994, Monza peeped in, taking over both start and finish.
Bergamo only joined the club in 1995 along with Varese, with the former hosting the arrivals and the latter the departures for the next seven years. It did not take long for the charm of the Orobic city and the warmth of the local supporters to capture the hearts of cycling fans, so much so that director Carmine Castellano did not hesitate to confirm the partnership between Bergamo and Il Lombardia until 2003.
The first ever to cross the finish line in Bergamo with his arms raised was Venetian Gianni Faresin, a surprise winner in ’95, followed by Andrea Tafi in 1996, Laurent Jalabert in 1997, Oscar Camenzind in 1998, Mirko Celestino in 1999, Raimondas Rumšas in 2000, Danilo Di Luca in 2001 and Michele Bartoli’s double in 2002 and 2003.
The finish was then moved back to the lakefront in Como for another decade, with Bergamo having to settle for the 2012 and 2013 starts. The grand finale made it back to Bergamo in 2014, with the decisive strike by Irishman Daniel Martin landing in the very heart of the city, and then in 2016, when Esteban Chaves flashed his smile ahead of Diego Rosa and Rigoberto Uran. Since 2012 Como and Bergamo have become the two souls of Il Lombardia, regularly taking turns between hosting departures and arrivals.
The last chapter in Bergamo was written by none other than Pogačar back in 2021, with a clear victory ahead of local lad Fausto Masnada. The Slovenian is back again this year – will he pick up where he left off?