On the 8th of October the peloton will take on the final monument of the season: Il Lombardia! The Italian classic is one of the hardest one-day races in the calendar, where endurance and climbing prowess will be tested and many of the world's best climbers will be on the hunt for success.
The opposite of last year, the route will this year see the start in Bergamo and the finish is Como, hence seeing a completely different profile, however with very meaningful climbs present in the route. The race will be 253 kilometers long and feature around 4900 meters of climbing. Although the longest ascents are not towards the end, it will not be easy for the puncheurs and classics riders to make it through to the end.
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The race early on features the Passo di Ganda (9.3Km; 7.1%) where Tadej Pogacar made the decisive attack last year en route to his win. This year the climb’s role will be more modest, however the first half of the race features six climbs of different lengths and gradients which will likely not be attacked, but will set in the fatigue and drain riders out of their capacity later on in the day.
Competitively, the race is only expected to really start firing up at the Madonna del Ghisallo. It’s unlikely that any meaningful attack will come from it seeing what will be left of the race and the 61 kilometers left to the finish, however some teams may have ideas of pushing on here in order to start preparing an attack. It is 8.6 kilometers in distance and 6.2% average gradient, however slightly misleading as it features a lengthy flat section in the middle of it. The race then moves on into the outskirts of Como, avoiding the famous Muro di Sormano climb which has so often decided the race.
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Instead, the race will follow a more traditional finale. The riders will ride through San Fermo della Battaglia for the first time with 27 kilometers to go, and through the finish with 22. More on that below, the riders will quickly head into the other side of town to climb into Civiglio.
Civiglio is one of cycling’s most iconic climbs at this point, featuring 4.2 kilometers at constant almost 10% gradients. It is one for the pure climbers, at the end of such a hard day and with no restbite, it’s a constant effort where the main differences are expected to be made. It summits with just 17 kilometers to go and what follows is a short but very technical descent back into town, where the race can be won or lost.
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However the riders will still have one more ascent to go as they return to San Fermo della Battaglia. The climb is not as hard, however 2.7 kilometers at 7.2% is hard enough to make the difference, specially at the end of such a tough race. This is where energy management in the first hours will come into play, as some may crack completely in this explosive effort. It finishes with only 5.3 kilometers to go and if someone goes solo over the top, the race is likely over.
The riders will descent directly into the final kilometer afterwards, for a lakeside finish in the town of Como.