After a hectic weekend of racing with the Commonwealth Games and Paris-Tours taking place, we now have the Giro di Lombardia to look forward to.

Time for some PBK desk research; Lombardy is one of 20 regions in Italy. Really quite beautiful, it is the most populous and richest region in Italy. With the cities of Milan and Bergamo combined with the classic lakes of Garda and Como, scenic shots are not hard to come by. No wonder then that this race is also know as the ‘classic of falling leaves’.

Raced since 1905 when it was the Milan-Milan, the race finishes in Como and during the latter parts come the climbs – not alpine ascents but short sharp inclines which really sting. This race has proved perfect for the likes of Gilbert in the past (he won last year) and always have a mass of excitement towards to the end. Its main significance is with it being the last race in the UCI calendar = UCI points are available to anyone who wants to move up a position or two at the last minute.

2010 Route:

Rather than the previous 3 years starting point of Varese, this year the 260km route sees the riders converge into Milan and the front of the Palazzo Lombardia.

This will be the first time that the race has been run between the regional capital and Como since 1984, when the race was won by five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault.

After passing through the city of Lecco, the race takes to the familiar banks of the lake in the direction of Bellagio to the base of the iconic climb to the Madonna del Ghisallo. After the Ghisallo, instead of descending towards Erbe, the race will turn right to pass over the 1124m Colma di Sormano.

Rising 629m in 9.6km, the Sormano presents a much longer and tougher climb than is usually experienced at this stage of the race. With just 41km to go from the top it will likely thin the peloton further as it makes its way to the finish.

The 104th edition should be just as exciting as we expect – I’ll certainly be finding somewhere with Eurosport to watch the race unfold on Saturday afternoon.

What happened last year:

The Belgian Philippe Gilbert won in a final sprint against Sammy Sanchez. Going well and a firm favourite at the Worlds in Geelong, he is sure to be up front and gunning for victory. Already this year he’s won at the Vuelta, won the Amstel Gold  and a stage at the Tour of Belgium.

If you can speak French check out his fan club here!

The final K’s should suit his style (uphill and tough!)

This year’s news and gossip:

This will be the first race that Thor Hushovd can air his new World Champs rainbow jersey.

It’s also poignant in it being the last race for Cervelo Test Team (read an article on their history and achievements here).

“I am really honoured to show my world champion’s jersey,” said Hushovd. “Lombardia will be the last race in the history of Cervélo TestTeam and it is a privilege to line up together with my team mates with the jersey on my shoulders.”

Riders not attending:

  • Robert Gesink has flown back home to visit his ill father who was involved in an MTB accident at the weekend.
  • Cunego won’t be riding due to fatigue. Classics, Giro and the Tour must take their toll!

Riders who are in fact allowed to attend:

  • Mainly the Radioshack Team including Lance who at first weren’t invited to the race by RCS (the organisers).

Following the news of their omission, Radioshack summoned RCS before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in an attempt to seek compensation.

However, it was announced a couple of days later that Pat McQuaid, the UCI president, had stepped in to give race Tour of Lombardy organisers special dispensation to include 26 teams in the final race of the UCI ProTour season. What else would you expect from Lance Armstrong and his team?

With that I leave you with the obligatory fish-eye lens shot with lake in the distance:

and the sombre feeling that the 2010 season is soon to be over. My suggestion for this Saturday – nice early ride in the morning, get back, eat some pasta with Italian style sauce and watch the action unfold with a beer. Let us know your highlights of the year below-



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