The toughest Monument, the one with the most elevation gain, the one winking at great climbers and Grand Tour men. Il Lombardia is the last, tremendous effort of the season, one of almost 240 km and 4400 metres of altitude difference. The final battle of the year before leaving everyone to their well-deserved rest.
Whether heading towards Como or Bergamo, there is no escaping the countless climbs that this part of Lombardy has to offer. It is therefore no coincidence that this competition often turns into a real elimination race, with riders scattered along most of the route much like an Alpine stage of a Grand Tour.
This year the finish will be held in Bergamo, in a sort of re-match of the 2021 edition. Fans should remember it well thanks to unforgettable moments such as Pogačar’s attack on the Passo di Ganda, the struggles of Evenepoel and Vingegaard, and the amazing and unexpected comeback of home idol Fausto Masnada on the descent. And then, of course, the finale in the heart of Bergamo, where the Slovenian got the better of generous Masnada, who had matched the Slovenian’s fierce accelerations on the steep slopes into the old town.
What made that edition nothing short of electrifying was the rapid succession of climbs, the same ones that the riders will encounter this year.
In addition to the remarkable length of the race, in fact, some of the toughest climbs of the area are on the menu: the Madonna del Ghisallo, a symbol of Il Lombardia since forever, will get the ball rolling, but it is the last 145 km that will leave absolutely no room to breathe, thanks to landmark ascents such as Roncola Alta (9.4 km at 6.6%), where McNulty, Healy and Frigo battled it out at this year’s Giro d’Italia, Berbenno (6.8 km at 4.6%), Passo della Crocetta (11 km at 6.2%), Zambia Alta (9.5 km at 3, 5%), Passo di Ganda (9.2 km at 7.3%), where Pogačar’s 2021 victory took root, and the unmissable final climb towards Bergamo’s upper town, Largo Colle Aperto, one kilometre at 7.9% with peaks at 12% and plenty of cobblestones. In a nutshell, this race features all the elevation challenges that top athletes can dream of.
The date is Saturday, 7 October. Let’s get ready to discover the successor to Pogačar, winner of the last two editions and without a doubt eager to score an historic trio.
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