Runner-up Andrea Bagioli looks back at Tadej Pogacar's winning attack at Il Lombardia: "Everyone was devastated"

Andrea Bagioli didn't often find his best form in 2023 but when he did he struck big. The Italian left a mark in his last year with Soudal - Quick-Step, ending it with a surprise podium spot at Il Lombardia where he finished between Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic.

"In fact I was Remco Evenepoel's last captain. I would have a protected status until the Passo di Ganda and then have to respond to attacks to protect Remco. In a way I climbed up the pecking order and I was allowed to go for my chance," Bagioli recalls in an interview with TuttoBiciWeb. As the Belgian crashed and Ilan van Wilder had an off-day, Bagioli had a chance to chase a result not too far from home.

After promising performances in the days leading up to the race, he showed himself as a climber who performed much above the expectations in the long ascents the final monument of the season had to offer. He kept up with some of the best climbers in the world on the Passo di Ganda and then went on to finish second on the day, winning the spring behind lone winner Tadej Pogacar - who won for the third consecutive time.

Bagioli recalls the winning move, when Pogacar attacked on the descent off the main climb of the day. "He dropped back but looked at his opponents. Then he came forward and attacked. Everyone was devastated," the 24-year old detailed. "And then he accelerated again, exactly when he knew everyone else was in pain." A second place was the best possible result from there on but he succeeded in netting a career-best. "It is very satisfying that I beat Roglic there."

However, the decision had been made at that time that he'd leave the Belgian team. Bagioli is one of the many quality reinforcements for Lidl-Trek into 2024 where he could have more freedom, but most importantly a change and another chance to find his consistency. "I will soon meet six fellow countrymen there. That's nice."

"And I like competition. I am used to that from my old team, with Evenepoel but also Julian Alaphilippe. I would like to earn my place there," Bagioli concludes. The spring classics could be a main goal alongside chasing stage wins in Grand Tours. He will be teaming up with quality riders such as Mads Pedersen, Giulio Ciccone and Mattias Skjelmose in the hilly races.

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