Il Lombardia

Where: Como-Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy
When: October 9, 2021
Rank: UCI WorldTour
Distance: 239km

Jakob Fuglsang wins Il Lombardia 2020

Jakob Fuglsang winning the 2020 Il Lombardia  (Image credit: Getty Images)

Il Lombardia is the final of five races known as Monuments in the professional cycling calendar. Formally called the Giro di Lombardia or nicknamed the 'Race of the Falling Leaves'.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the race had to take place earlier last year in the middle of the year on August 15, but fortunately the closing race of the Italian season is back in it's usual slot, taking place in early October in 2021.

It first took place in the year of 1905 and it has been the least interrupted of all the Classics with just two years out due to the second World War in 1943 and 1944, this means that the riders will be racing the 115th running of the race.

Last year the race took place just before the Giro d'Italia, shortly after Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico due to the rejigged season. It was also the second Monument ran. In 2021 though, all the Grand Tours and other Monuments are all done and dusted.

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana-Premier Tech) became the first Danish rider ever to win the race in 2020 but will not be looking to defend his title in 2021.

Last year's headlines surrounding the race were more focussed on two crashes, with one getting the lion's share of the headlines.

Remco Evenepoel's crash on the descent of the Muro di Sormano saw the young Belgian fall off a bridge down into a ravine after trying to follow Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo). 

He fractured his pelvis as well as many other horrible injuries that meant he had to teach himself to walk again. Fortunately, the Deceuninck - Quick-Step rider recovered very well and will be one of the big favourites yet again for this year's edition.

The other crash was of Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) as he was looking to be riding for a solid finish, he came round a bend to a member of the public pulling out of a junction in their car, taking out the German.

The rider who has won Il Lombardia the most was the legendary Italian, Fausto Coppi. Five times Coppi took the win here with Alfredo Binda just behind on four.

Six other riders sat on three victories at the great race including Irishman Sean Kelly and the 'Little Prince' himself, Damiano Cunego.

Tom Simpson is currently the only British rider ever to win the race back in 1965 with the likes of the great Eddy Merckx and Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal) taking the wins.

Thanks to the World Championships being moved to autumn in 1995, Il Lombardia is the race where we often get the first glimpse at the new world champion, although, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) did retain his title, but this will still be the first time he's showing his rainbow bands at the race as it was run before he won the Worlds in 2020.

Il Lombardia route

Il Lombardia profile 2021

(Image credit: Il Lombardia )

Seven climbs will be tackled over the 239km route with the famous climb quad of the Madonna del Ghisallo, Solma di Sormano, Muro di Sormano and the Civiglio are all off the menu for 2021.

Instead, a new layout sees the final major climb, Passo di Ganda, peak with 32km to go. The Madonna del Ghisallo does feature, however, it is the first climb of the day, with the top coming after just 38.6km.

This may lend the race for earlier attacks and a possibility of a puncher maybe even making it back on the valley bottom before the final lump of the Colle Aperto with the top at 3.2km to go.

Il Lombardia recent winners

2010: Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
2011: Oliver Zaugg (Sui) Leopard-Trek
2012: Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Team Katusha
2013: Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Team Katusha
2014: Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
2015: Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
2016: Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange
2017: Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
2018: Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ)
2019: Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
2020: Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team

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