Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) crowned his stunning end of season by winning the Tour of Lombardy on Saturday.
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The Belgian has been virtually unstoppable in the lead-up to the race, winning Paris-Tours, Coppa Sabatini and the Giro del Piemonte in the preceding two weeks.
By rights, Gilbert should have been marked out of contention in Lombardy given his form going into the final race in the UCI 2009 World Calendar. But when he launched his trademark attack in the final kilometres, only Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) had the motor to respond and keep up.
Sanchez edged ahead on the descent to the line, but Gilbert kept in touch. After a brief game of cat-and-mouse, Gilbert took the lead and never looked back – the Spaniard couldn’t get around him and Gilbert raised his arms on the line in Como.
Saxo Bank’s Alexandr Kolobnev lead home the group of chasers behind the lead duo. Ireland’s Daniel Martin (Garmin-Slipstream) finished strongly, coming home in eighth place at the same time as Kolobnev.
Tour of Lombardy 2009: Varese-Como, 242km
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto in 5-43-45
2. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
3. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Saxo Bank at 7secs
4. Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone at 8secs
5. Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank
7. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana
8. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Slipstream
9. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Fuji-Servetto
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto all same time.
55. Daniel Fleeman (GB) Cervelo at 2-53
DNF Charly Wegelius (GB) Silence-Lotto
Philippe Gilbert wins the 2009 Tour of Lombardy