By Jonny Long
Bauke Mollema profits from hesitant rivals
Bauke Mollema no doubt rode a fantastic race to secure his first ever Monument, countering at the right time following a series of attacks that had drained the group of favourites, before getting his head down and powering the final 18km all the way to the finish line.
However, the tactics of his rivals left a lot to be desired. There seemed to be no cohesion between the likes of Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), Egan Bernal (Ineos) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in their pursuit of the Dutchman, each rider too wary of given another a tow to the finish line and looking the fool.
Instead, in between bouts of turning around to admire each other's trade jerseys for one final time this year, each race favourite took it in turns to hit out on their own, staying out front for a while before being reeled back in.
Ultimately, this allowed Mollema, who had done well to take out a 20 second advantage soon after his attack, to time trial his way to victory, not having to worry about someone coming from behind to join him and contest a sprint. At the end of the season, there are not only tired legs but tired minds in the peloton, so it is not surprising that riders who we'd usually expect more from got it slightly wrong today after a heavy season.
Alejandro Valverde's immortal form
A year after taking his world road race title in Innsbruck, Alejandro Valverde decided to change tact and secure a string of second place finishes.
Valverde finished second in *deep breath* the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Vuelta Ciclista Murcia, UAE Tour, Vuelta a España, Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli, Milano-Torino, and of course, Il Lombardia.
The Spaniard will have hoped for a few more wins given that many runner-up places, you don't have as successful a career as Valverde has had by settling for second, but that the 39-year-old has maintained such a high and consistent level of form from February through to October is astonishing.
With Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana leaving Movistar at the end of the year, the Spanish team's fortunes will rest squarely on their veteran rider, as well as new signing Enric Mas, and who would bet against Valverde once again being at the sharp end of the major races next season once again?
A day to forget for Italians
While Italian fans won't have harboured major ambitions of a home win in their Monument, they would have been hoping for a little bit more from their riders and two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).
The Italian was vocal about doubting his form ahead of the race, but was still in the front group with 20km remaining. However, he then nearly came a cropper as he swerved to avoid a stray bottle and somehow managed to stay upright, avoiding a collision with the kerb. Forced to chase back up, the shark of Messina was dropped not long after, eventually finishing in 55th place, six minutes down.
In further bad news for the Italians, not one of their riders managed to make the top 10, a feat last achieved in 1990. Although Fausto Masnado (Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec) rode a strong breakaway ride on home roads, Giovanni Visconti (Neri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM) was the nation's highest finisher in 17th place.
Egan Bernal finishes off dream season
In spite of Egan Bernal's youthful appearance, his performances on the bike in 2019 have often made you forget the Colombian is only 22 years old.
Therefore, when he was asked in his post-race interview whether he had any regrets with his third place, the Ineos rider's reply held the sentiment of how could he possibly after the year he has had.
A maiden Tour de France victory, wins at the Tour de Suisse and Paris-Nice, as well as taking Gran Piemonte two days earlier in Italy, adding a first Monument podium to that tally is hardly going to keep him up at night through the off-season. Bernal will surely only improve in 2020, and what a spectacle that promises to be.
A last goodbye for many
Laurens ten Dam (CCC) rode his final ever race at Il Lombardia following a 20-year professional racing career. There are probably few places more picturesque than Lake Como for your last race, and the Dutchman will have soaked in every moment as he rolled over the line in 94th place, more than 17 minutes down on his compatriot Mollema.
While the majority of riders racing in the final one-day WorldTour event of the season won't be hanging up their jerseys for good this winter, a number will be exchanging them for new ones.
Mikel Landa abandoned with 60km remaining in his final race in a Movistar jersey, while Vincenzo Nibali faltered in his last outing in Bahrain-Merida colours before he swaps to a similar red with Trek-Segafredo.
Dan Martin moves from UAE Team Emirates to Israel Cycling Academy, and will retain WorldTour rider status after his new employers agreed to take over Katusha's licence. Philippe Gilbert also put in his last effort wearing Deceuninck - Quick-Step colours, the 37-year-old having signed a three-year deal with Lotto-Soudal.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
Police catch close-pass drivers by joining group ride, and upload to Strava
Sheffield North West Neighbourhood Police caught close-pass drivers with help from cycling volunteers
By Ryan Dabbs •
Ethan Hayter disappointed to surrender Tour of Britain title on final day
Wout Van Aert secured victory away from Hayter with his stage win in Aberdeen
By Ryan Dabbs •
The Monuments: Cycling’s five biggest one-day races
A guide to the five single-day pro bike races that make up cycling's Monuments
By Nigel Wynn •
Anti-doping agency closes investigation into object removed from Remco Evenepoel’s pocket at Il Lombardia
The cycling anti-doping agency has closed its investigation into the mystery object removed from Remco Evenepoel’s pocket after his Il Lombardia crash.
By Alex Ballinger •
Remco Evenepoel will be off the bike for two months after Il Lombardia crash
Remco Evenepoel will be off the bike for six weeks to two months, making it unlikely he'll be able to race the Giro d'Italia.
By Alex Ballinger •
UCI investigating Il Lombardia car incident that left Max Schachmann with fractured collarbone
A member of the public drove onto the course during the Italian Monument and collided with the German rider
By Jonny Long •
Five things we learned from the 2020 Il Lombardia
Remco Evenepoel's crash overshadowed the Italian Monument
By Stephen Puddicombe •
Watch: Max Schachmann hit by car that got on to Il Lombardia course
The incident in the closing kilometres followed Remco Evenepoel's scary crash earlier in the race
By Jonny Long •
Jakob Fuglsang takes a dominant Monument victory at Il Lombardia 2020
The 2019 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner beat George Bennett after Remco Evenepoel crashed out
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
How to live stream Il Lombardia 2020: Where to watch the second Monument of the year
If the 2020 season wasn’t strange enough, we’re now about to witness an edition of Il Lombardia in the height of summer - find out how to watch the second Monument of the year.
By Alex Ballinger •