When the race was played out on the same course in 2015 Vincenzo Nibali accepted the gift of the organisation and he won that year’s edition. He attacked after cresting the penultimate climb, Civiglio, and with 16 kilometres remaining he dropped, climbed and dropped again to the win. Daniel Moreno came in second, Thibaut Pinot finished third.
Following a lap around Bergamo and some 100 kilometres on rolling roads the race really gets going when the riders tackle the Madonna del Ghisallo with 70 kilometres remaining. Straight after the drop it goes back up to Sormano and shortly after passing through the village the one and only Muro di Sormano appears. The 1.92 kilometres wall is averaging 17%, while the steepest ramps are 27%. On the summit there are 50.5 kilometres left to race.
A technical drop and flat section along the lake leads the riders to Como. Following the first passage on the line the riders tackle the first of two climbs in the last lap. The Civiglio is a sharp 4.2 kilometres with ramps of up to 14%, while the average gradient of 9.7%. On the top it’s 16 kilometres left. Firstly a drop back into Como and on the other side of the town the riders hit the San Fermo della Battaglia. The last climb in the Tour of Lombardy is 2.7 kilometres and averaging 7.2%, after which the race ends with a 5.3 kilometres drop – although the final 1.6 kilometre really is a false flat.
Climbing and descending, yes, that’s Nibali terrain – or is Kwiatkowski going to expand his 2017 Classics collection, after winning Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and Clasica de San Sebastian?
Title holder Esteban Chaves is absent as he broke his right shoulder blade in last week’s Giro dell’Emilia.
Favourites 2017 Tour of Lombardy
*** Vincenzo Nibali, Julian Alaphilippe, Daniel Martin, Michal Kwiatkowski
** Primoz Roglic, Bauke Mollema, Wout Poels, Rigoberto Uran, Fabio Aru
* Philippe Gilbert, Tony Gallopin, Tim Wellens, Diego Ulissi, Thibaut Pinot, Warren Barguil