Tour of Lombardy: Pogacar against Evenepoel and Roglic

The alternation of beauty. The 117th edition of the very classic Gazzetta/Rcs Sport, scheduled for Saturday 7 October, proposes the great charm of the Giro di Lombardia by Credit Agricole, with an opposite route compared to 2022: starting from Como and arriving in Bergamo, 238 kilometres, after having shortly after the start, climbed its symbol, the Ghisallo (Magreglio side), and said goodbye to the church of the Madonna dei cyclists and the Museum wanted by Fiorenzo Magni. The presentation today at the Belvedere of the Pirelli Skyscraper, the historic headquarters of the Lombardy Region: present were Damiano Cunego, three-time king of the race, who turns 42 today, and Vincenzo Nibali, two-time winner of the classic that he loved most.


Lombardy, fifth and last classic Monumento: first edition 1905, four years before the Giro d’Italia. The race of Fausto Coppi, who won it five times. Will I arrive in Como on the lakefront in 2022 or in Bergamo in 2021 in the city’s parlor? The name of the winner does not change: Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who could write history. In the history of Lombardy, the consecutive hat-trick was achieved only by Alfredo Binda (from 1925 to 1927) and Fausto Coppi, who actually played poker from 1946 to 1949.


It will be a duel never seen before. Because they haven’t competed against each other in a classic Monumento yet. Pogacar, 24 years old, against Remco Evenepoel, 23: the duel that everyone is waiting for even in the grand tours. The Slovenian has already won Flanders, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and two Lombardy; the Flemish twice Liège. And then there will be the other Slovenian, Primoz Roglic, the king of the 2023 Giro, also winner of a Liège. And the Frenchman Pinot, in the last race of his career, in the race he won in 2018, the one he loves most. Italians? One above all: Giulio Ciccone, the best climber from Abruzzo at the Tour de France. 25 teams of 7 riders will be at the start: a total of 175 competing. In addition to the 18 WorldTour teams, the following Professionals were invited: Eolo-Kometa, Green Project Bardiani-Csf, Israel Premier Tech, Lotto Dstny, Q36.5, TotalEnergies and Tudor.

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We will dive on the arrival again from Bergamo Alta, Porta Garibaldi and the cobblestones of Largo Aperto with slopes of 12%: it is the “Boccola”, where the fans can feel the breath of the champions, the heart beating in the most intense effort. And, first, after the classic climbs of Roncola and Berbenno, Lombardy goes to find the innermost and truest Bergamo valleys. Here is Dossena, Oltre il Colle and Zambla Alta (the peak of Lombardy: 1257 meters above sea level). Beyond the Hill, the watershed between Val di Riso and Val Parina, a small village of less than a thousand inhabitants, which for centuries has been famous for the skill of its blacksmiths in the production of nails and weapons, swords and pikes, the characteristic long poles of the sixteenth century and Sixteenth century. And then there is the Ganda pass, the hardest side of the Selvino: it is tackled from Gazzaniga, it is almost 10 km with an average gradient of 7% and peaks of 13%. Real climb, and then the nosedive onto Nembro with 19 hairpin bends. At that point there are 9 km that lead to Bergamo Alta, the only flat ones of the entire finale. There will be a difference in altitude of 4400 metres, with one warning: knowing the routes of the last three hours of the race is crucial. Where carriages and adventurers passed, there is still room for ambushes. This time on a bicycle.

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