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Il Lombardia 2021: new route unveiled with 4,500 meters of elevation


On Saturday 9 October, from Como to Bergamo (239km), the final Monument Classic of the year will take place. High caliber riders on the start list include Tadej Pogacar (winner of the 2021 Tour de France), Primoz Roglic (Olympic Time Trial Champion and winner of the 2021 Vuelta a Espana), promising Belgian star Remco Evenepoel, British prospect Tao Geoghegan Hart (winner of the 2020 Giro d’Italia) and two icons of the sport – Vincenzo Nibali and Chris Froome. The last rider to win in Bergamo was Esteban Chaves in 2016.

On Sunday 10, from Cantu to Cantu, the Gran Fondo Il Lombardia will see entrants scale the climbs of Ghisallo and Sormano. Registration is still open at

Il Lombardia presented by Eolo returns to its original spot in the autumn racing calendar, after its brief appearance in August of last year, with a new route that’s designed to be both selective and spectacular. The riders will face six climbs following their departure from Como, with the steep hill of Bergamo Alta awaiting them before the finish, to complete a total of 4,500 meters of elevation during the race.

The Route

After the start from Como towards Cantù, the riders will tackle the Ghisallo as the first climb of the race, ascending from the Asso side to then descend to Bellagio and reach Lecco along the shore of Lake Como. Upon entering the province of Bergamo, a series of climbs begins that leads to the finish line. This section of the race is characterized by a continuous succession of climbs and descents with almost no flat sections in between. The riders will climb the Roncola first (Valico di Valpiana, offering gradients of up to 17%), then the climbs of Berbenno, Dossena, Zambla Alta and Passo di Ganda for a total vertical elevation that surpasses 4400m. From Ganda, the route leads to the Selvino where the classic long descent with 19 hairpin bends begins. From there, the riders will cross 9km in their approach to the city (the only flat section of the final part of the route) and begin the iconic passage through the Città Alta before the finish in Bergamo.

The final kilometers

The last kilometers head through Bergamo’s upper town, going up to Porta Garibaldi and then (crossing 200m of cobblestone terrain) to Largo Aperto. In the first part the gradients are always in excess of 10% (max 12%). Downhill the roadway is wide on a smooth surface. At 1800m from the finish, there is a sharp turn with a short bottleneck to overcome the Porta Sant’Agostino. After the last kilometer, a wide curve to the left awaits the riders before they join the straight that leads to the finish. The final straight is 800m long and 7.5m wide on an asphalt surface, downhill in the first part and then flat.

The Mayor of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori said: “After last year’s ‘restart’ edition, which started symbolically from our city, Il Lombardia returns as the main autumn classic to bring the professional cycling season to a close. This year’s race brings with it great expectations and a desire for ‘rebirth’, and finishes in Bergamo – one of the most beautiful sporting cities in Italy, where cycling and sport are essential values of territory. This year’s route is even more fascinating than the last thanks to the great work done by the organisers. Its conclusion lies in the center of Bergamo after a final ascent along the streets of our historical centre of Città Alta, and descent alongside the Venetian Walls – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017. This year has truly been a source of great satisfaction for Italian sport: the European titles achieved in football and volleyball (male and female), a record haul of Olympic medals and the exploits of the Italian athletics team and the Olympic and World titles in track cycling. I’m convinced that the Italian nation will be the main protagonist of Il Lombardia too, but regardless of what happens, Il Lombardia 2021 will be – as it always proves to be – a great race. May the best man win.”

Como Councillor for Sport, Marco Galli added: “After the one-off ‘Ferragosto’ edition in 2020, Como welcomes the race start of Il Lombardia and its finish in Bergamo – a city that has particularly suffered this last year from the effects of the pandemic. For our city, hosting the start of the 115th edition of this important Monument also carries a meaning of ‘restarting’. It comes after a very troubled period that was marked by the virus, but also the recent flooding that has impacted the banks of the Lario and Como territory. The multiple cycling champions who have already confirmed their participation will parade through the city centre after sign-on and will be enthusiastically welcomed by fans, many tourists and ordinary citizens alike – all enthralled by the sights and sounds of the race caravan. As always, it will be a big celebration for the city of Como and its territory; a place that loves sport in general, and cycling in particular.”

“With this historic classic – underlined the Undersecretary of the Lombardy Region in charge of Sport, the 2026 Olympics and Major Events – back at the end of the season, our splendid territory confirms itself as a major player at the international level also in the two-wheel sector. Il Lombardia is the icing on the cake of a season full of successes and Lombardy records, in numerous sporting disciplines, most recently the fantastic 20″11 recorded by our Filippo Tortu on the track in Nairobi.”

“After the successes of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Tokyo,” he continued, “it is now the turn of one of the best-loved road races in cycling, Il Lombardia, to shine the spotlight on our region. This year the race takes on a significance that goes beyond a competitive one, also because of the choice of Bergamo as the city of arrival. After the sad and dark periods of the ‘lockdown’, Lombardy has come back stronger than before in many areas. In less than five years’ time we will be hosting the Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina: ours will be the Games of sustainability and will be an example to the world of Lombardy’s tenacity, capacity and efficiency.”

Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director added: “After the previous very special edition of Il Lombardia, run on the day of Ferragosto in 2020, the last Monument of the season returns to its original location on the international calendar with a new and very selective route. The alternation between the cities of Como and Bergamo will this year see the race start in the city of Como and finish in the city of Bergamo. The well-established relationship between RCS Sport and the Lombardy Region continues, which in addition to Il Lombardia this year has already hosted some stages and the arrival of the 104th Giro d’Italia in Milan. ‘The Classic of the Falling Leaves’, the last Monument on the international calendar, will have worldwide visibility thanks to the television images produced by RAI and will be broadcast in 200 countries on 5 continents. It will be a route without hard climbs like the one in Sormano, but a series of bumps for a total elevation of 4500 metres. Like every year there will be great champions at the start. This year we have riders of the calibre of Pogacar, Roglic, Evenepoel, Geoghegan Hart, Nibali and Froome just to name a few who I am sure will put on a show. As always, the day after the pro race, there will be the Gran Fondo Il Lombardia that will start and finish in Cantù, with the symbolic climbs of Ghisallo and Sormano”.

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