Favourites Tour of Lombardia 2014
Purito and the steep climbs of Il Lombardia are made for each other. Editions 2012 and 2013 were his, albeit on a different course. Theoretically this year’s route is less tough, speaking tot the disadvantage of the tough Catalan. But if he wins it would definitely be something special since history saw only two non-Italianswinning the race twice – Henri Pelissier and Sean Kelly.
In the Grand Tours it’s the high mountains that are too much for Valverde, but the climbing in Lombardia is tailor made for him. At the end of a grueling race The Unbeaten is… uhm, hard to beat, especially when it comes down to a sprint.
The young Pole finished third in 2013. While being relatively unknown at the time, this season saw his breakthrough with a strong Giro d’Italia and stage wins at Risoul and Pla d’Adet in the Tour de France, plus taking the Mountains classification in La Grande Boucle.
Can he do it again? The brand new man in the rainbow jersey is in the form of his life, that’s for sure.
Martin’s 2014 season is marked by lows, starting with crashing Liege-Bastogne-Liege when his second victory in a row was up for grabs. Next came the Giro d’Italia – starting in his own Ireland it was over before it even started after crashing in the TTT. La Vuelta saw him getting back to his own tough self, however an exhausting race like Il Lombardia suits him better.
The Giro di Lombardia was his in 2009 and 2010 – can he do it again? Except for a flash of brilliance in the spring, with wins in Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl, his 2014 season is rather bleak. Still the 2012 World Champion is only 32 years of age, it would be a shame if his best years are behind the former ‘Mister Win-it-all’.