Tour of Lombardy 2018: Preview

vincenzo nibali 2018 - Tour of Lombardy 2018: PreviewThe first edition of the Tour of Lombardy was called Milan-Milan and took place in 1905. The route of the Classic of the falling leaves has been changed many times since those early days. Milan, Bergamo, Varese, Sesto San Giovanni, Monza and Como, all those places have seen starts as well as finishes of Il Lombardia. In recent years Como and Bergamo are preferred arrivals. (Slideshow route/profile)

The 2018 edition of the Tour of Lombardy runs from Bergamo to Como. At 241 kilometres and featuring an elevation gain of 4,000 metres, the race will be played out on virtually the same route as last year and in 2015. In both editions, Vincenzo Nibali attacked just before cresting the Civiglio, the penultimate climb. He widened the gap in the descent to solo to victory. Last year, Julian Alaphilippe and Gianni Moscon rounded out the podium, in 2015 Daniel Moreno and Thibaut Pinot were second and third. Other recent winners of Il Lombardia are Estaban Chaces (2016) and Daniel Martin (2014).

This year’s route features iconic climbs up Madonna del Ghisallo and Muro di Sormano. The penultimate climb is the Civiglio – as it was in 2015 and 2017 -, while the last hill is a 1,7 kilometres climb to Monte Olimpino. The race ends with a 3 kilometres drop down to the finish line in Como. This means the San Fermo della Battaglia in excluded as the final climb. Basically, the organisation rolls out the red carpet for a Shark-like attack on the Civiglio. The inclusion of the Monte Olimpino makes for an easier finale. The climb is less punchy and the distance from the Civiglio to the line is shortened.

Obviously, Vincenzo Nibali is a pre-race favourite, while the Tour of Lombardy offers Fabio Aru a chance to turn his nightmare of a season into a sweet dream. World Champion Alejandro Valverde, Primoz Roglic and Gianni Moscon are other riders to watch. Probably, you have an opinion on the Il Lombardia champion yourself. But you can also have a look at the cycling betting odds as given by 888.sport.com.

Arguably the most bizarre edition of the Tour of Lombardy was played out in 1978. In those days Il Lombardia was the last race of the Super Prestige. Every Italian team was collaborating to stop Bernard Hinault from winning, since they wanted their countryman Fransesco Moser to win the Super Prestige. They succeeded in doing so, yet Bernard Hinault came back one year later. The Frenchman was still pissed off. Looking for revenge, he attacked early in the race and won after an imperial 60 kilometres breakaway attack. The weather was extremely bad, which made his victory in Il Lombardia ánd the Super Prestige of 1979 all the more heroic.

The first rider to win the illustrious classic was Italian Giovanni Gerbi, nicknamed Il Diavolo Rosso (the red devil). In 1905 he finished 40 minutes ahead of the runner-up, which is unlikely to happen in 2018.

Tour of Lombardy 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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