Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d?Epargne) started the Tour of Lombardy on Saturday morning after his team decided against boycotting the race because of the organiser?s decision not to award Valverde the ProTour winner?s jersey after the finish.
After a team manager?s meeting on Friday Caisse d?Epargne said Valverde would not start but then changed their minds before the start to end the brinkmanship with race director Angelo Zomegnan.
“Valverde is supposed to fulfill his obligations to the Pro Tour while not picking up the expected benefits,” the team complained. However Zomegnan was determined that the 100th edition of the Tour of Lombardy would not include the awarding on the ProTour jersey.
“There is no way we are going to agree to promoting the Pro Tour brand next to the Tour of Lombardy brand,” Zomegnan said.
The Tour of Lombardy started as planned in Mendrisio at 10:25. Early attackers Diego Caccia (Barloworld) and Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner) had a 13-minute lead after 80km of the 245km race.
More from the race later