The Monument Classic that closes the cycling season will be dedicated to the recently deceased great champion, Felice Gimondi.
The race will start from Bergamo and finish in Como after 243km. Compared to the last edition, won by the French rider Thibaut Pinot, the San Fermo della Battaglia returns in the route’s final of the route, to be climbed as well as the Colle Gallo, Colle Brianza, Madonna del Ghisallo, Sormano and Civiglio. A commemorative jersey to celebrate Gimondi will be presented to the race winner. The Gran Fondo Il Lombardia will follow on the next day, Sunday 13 October.
Il Lombardia NamedSport, won twice by Felice Gimondi in 1966 and in 1973, will pay tribute to the great champion of Sedrina on Saturday 12 October on the route that will start from Bergamo and finish on the Como lakefront. The winner will be awarded a celebratory jersey to commemorate this very special 113th edition.
Quotes after the press conference
Norma Gimondi, daughter of Felice Gimondi, said: “This race was among the great Classics that dad loved the most, not only because he won it twice and so he liked it on a sporting level, but also because he used to find his friends and fans on these streets. Today I am very proud that Il Lombardia is dedicated to him exactly one month after his death. I want to thank everybody for the many messages of affection that I have received following his death. It is proof that he is in everyone’s hearts.”
Giorgio Gori, Mayor of Bergamo, said: “Il Giro di Lombardia has always had for me – as urban cyclist – a unique charm. Thanks to the romantic name, the “Classic of the dead leaves”, indicating that this autumnal race closes the pro cycling season, and it being so close to my home, I cannot hide my affection and enthusiasm for Il Lombardia. Also for this reason I am proud of the fact that, for five years, practically since I was Mayor of Bergamo, Il Lombardia has always started or finished in this city: I’m proud of being able to show my wonderful city to the ‘Giro caravan’ and to the many fans at home, but also proud because this has always been a land of great cycling. “This year it will also be special for another reason: Il Lombardia 2019 is dedicated to the memory of the great Felice Gimondi, who died recently. Although I was very young at the time, later on I loved watching his defeats at least as much as his victories – maybe even more. Because it is due to the defeats and the many second places he earned without ever giving up, as well as for his triumphs, that Felice Gimondi has become Gimondi, the symbol that transcends sport and embraces life itself: a symbol to which this year Il Lombardia pays a tribute, in Bergamo, on the roads that he loved so much and that he rode many times.”
Paolo Bellino, CEO of RCS Sport, said: “We felt we had to pay tribute to Felice Gimondi in this edition. We do it by dedicating this race to him, a race which he won twice, and that will start from ‘his’ Bergamo. A celebratory jersey will also remember this great champion and will be awarded during the final ceremony to the winner of Il Lombardia. Live footage of this edition will be broadcast on the five continents and we are certain that the race will excite and entertain all cycling fans around the world. To end a great cycling weekend in the best way, we also have the Gran Fondo scheduled for Sunday 13th.”
Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director, said: “The thrill of organising a race like Il Lombardia is always special but this year it’s truly unique. What Gimondi gave to the cycling world will remain forever in everyone’s heart and eyes and for this reason we want to honour him in the way he deserves. The route has all the characteristics that Felice would have liked with the historic climbs of the Madonna del Ghisallo and Sormano as well as a hard finish with the Civiglio and San Fermo della Battaglia. I am sure the peloton, the fans and ourselves, the organisers, will experience, along the whole route, strong emotions that we will not forget, remembering the cyclist and the man who made the history of this sport.”
Marco Galli, Councilor for Sport of the City of Como, said: “As a Councilor for Sport and as a citizen, I am extremely happy that once again Il Lombardia will see its finish in Como. This classic provides great visibility and opportunities for promoting tourism for the city, for the Lario and for the whole Lombardy region. “We return after a year of forced interruption to the complete, prestigious circuit including the Muro di Sormano, the Ghisallo, the Civiglio and the Valfresca. As in the past, Il Lombardia’s champion will be crowned and this year, at the same time, we will remember Felice Gimondi, a great champion who recently passed away. It will therefore be a day of great sport and certainly great emotions and memories.”
Loredana Poli, Councilor for Sport of the City of Bergamo, said: “The last of the five Monument Classics this year presents a route that becomes increasingly recognizable for all fans of this wonderful sport. Bergamo and Como have been alternating as the start and finish cities of Il Lombardia for some years now, in a duet that I think is very good for this race and this sport. The closing of the international cycling season therefore passes once again from here, from Bergamo, one of the most beautiful and best known sporting cities in Italy, where sport in general and cycling in particular are essential values of the territory.”
After departing Bergamo in a southerly direction, the route crosses the Bergamo plain in its first 40km to go up the Cavallina valley to Casazza where the Colle Gallo – the first ascent of the race – is tackled. Colle is followed by a fast descent returning from the Seriana valley to Bergamo, then the route re-enters lowland roads that lead to Brianza. There’s a short passage to Colle Brianza and a descent to Pescate heading towards Valmadrera and then towards Oggiono and, finally, through Pusiano, Asso and down the descent to Onno and on to Bellagio. This is where the Ghisallo ascent – with gradients of up to 14% on wide roads with different hairpin bends – begins.
The following very fast descent is on long straights and ends at Maglio where, immediately after a right turn, the climb of the Colma di Sormano begins. After a few km of medium slopes, and a few hundred meters after Sormano, the route heads up the Muro di Sormano on a narrow, very steep road, (2km long, with a gradient up to 15%). It’s partly inside a small wood, with very narrow bends and slopes that, for around 1km of distance, exceed 25% up to almost 30%.
Once past the Colma, the route follows the descent to Nesso, where the riders then take the coastal road to reach Como. Next they face the hard climb to Civiglio (614m) with slopes almost always around 10% – and with a marked narrowing of the roadway at the top of the climb – before going back down and through Como to hit the last climb of San Fermo della Battaglia (397m). There are two Feed Zones: the first in San Sosimo (km 112-5) and the second in Onno (km 182-5).
Last 10km start inside the area of Como on wide avenues, up to the railway underpass where the final ascent of San Fermo della Battaglia begins. The slope is around 7% (max 10%). The route passes several hairpin bends up to the brow at around 5km from the finish. The descent, on a wide, well-paved road ends at the last kilometer.