Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) successfully repeated last year’s win in the Tour of Lombardy on Sunday, attacking on the final climb to take a solo victory in Lecco.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) finished in second, with Rafal Majka (Saxo Tinkoff) in third.
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The victory for ‘Purito’ comes just a week after he was denied the road race world title by Rui Costa in similarly rain-lashed conditions in Italy. As consolation prizes go, it’s not a bad one particularly as he takes the overall lead in the UCI WorldTour, usurping Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Sky) at the top of the table.
Voeckler makes his mark
After a succession of escape groups and regroupings through the 242km race, it was Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) that attacked over the Madonna del Ghisallo climb solo, pushing out a gap of around three minutes. But by start of the final climb of Villa Vergano, the Frenchman’s advantage had slipped to a minute and he was caught before the summit.
Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) set the pace on the second half of the ascent, whittling down the bunch. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) bided his time, and attacked on the final kilometre of the climb. Only Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) had enough in the tank to chase.
Valverde then took up the pursuit solo but Rodriguez was well away, cruising to the line to take his second consecutive win in the race. Valverde came in for second, with Majka in third as Martin succumbed to a late crash to come home in fourth, just outsprinting Enrico Gasparotto (Astana).
Non-starters, withdrawals and retirees
Chris Froome (Sky) was a non-starter after suffering from back pain. “Sadly, I won’t be able to compete at Il Lombardia on Sunday,” said Froome in a Sky statement issued on Saturday.
“I had some back pain at the World Championships last weekend and it hasn’t settled down as I’d hoped.”
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was among those that withdrew during the race. The Italian was caught up in a crash, injuring his knee. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was one of the first riders to withdraw in another race affected by wet weather and crashes.
The 2013 Tour of Lombardy also marked two further withdrawals – but this time for good. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil) and Marco Pinotti (BMC Racing) chose the race to close out their professional riding careers in Europe.
Tour of Lombardy 2013: Bergamo to Lecco, 242km
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha in 6-10-18
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 17 secs
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 23 secs
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 45 secs
5. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana at same time
6. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 55 secs
7. Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
8. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
9. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing
10. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at same time
Rui Costa in his world champion’s kit
Joaquim Rodriguez wins
Joaquim Rodriguez wins (centre), with Rafal Majka (left) in third and Alejandro Valverde (right) in second