The fifth Monument of the season is played out on a route with around 4,000 vertical metres, scattered through the Alps-region between Bergamo and Como. The Tour of Lombardy amounts to 241 kilometres, while the race ends Nibali-style with a drop to the line.
The 2015 and 2017 editions of the Tour of Lombardy were played out on almost the same course. On both occasions Vincenzo Nibali accepted the gift of the organisation and he won those editions. He attacked after cresting the penultimate climb, Civiglio, and powered to victory with a 16 kilometres solo. This year’s finale is slightly different though. Following the Civiglio the last climb is Monte Olimpino, which is shorter and less steep than last year’s final climb up San Fermo della Battaglia. The exclusion of the San Fermo della Battaglia and the inclusion of the Monte Olimpino means the distance from the Civiglio to the line is shortened by a few kilometres, which suits Shark-like attacks on the penultimate climb even better.
Due to his crash in the Tour de France Nibali was not in the condition to make the difference at the Worlds and we have to see if he returns to his best form in Il Lombardia. Other fast descenders are Primoz Roglic and the new World Champion Alejandro Valverde.
Following a lap around Bergamo and some 100 kilometres on rolling roads the Tour of Lombardy 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 Muro di Sormano appears. The 1.92 kilometres wall is averaging 17%, while the steepest ramps are 27%. A technical drop and flat section along the Lake Como leads the riders to Como. Following the first passage on the line the riders tackle the Civiglio – 4.2 kilometres at 9.7% – and continue to Monte Olimpino, which is a 1.7 kilometres climb at 5%. The race ends with a 3 kilometres drop to the line.
Former winners at the start are Vincenzo Nibali (2017, 2015) and Daniel Martin (2014).
Favourites 2018 Tour of Lombardy
***** Alejandro Valverde, Gianni Moscon, Primoz Roglic
**** Vincenzo Nibali, Romain Bardet, Michael Woods, Dylan Teuns
*** Bauke Mollema, Tony Gallopin, Thibaut Pinot, Michael Matthews, Enric Mas
** David de la Cruz, Sam Oomen, Tim Wellens, Davide Formolo, Adam Yates
* Ion Izagirre, Daniel Martin, Tiesj Benoot, Mikel Landa, Rui Costa