Bauke Mollema is the first Dutchman to win Il Lombardia since 1981

Birthday boy Michael Woods fifth in final Monument of the season

October 12th, 2019 by | Posted in News | Tags: ,

For the first time since Hennie Kuiper in 1981, Il Lombardia, the Race of the Falling Leaves, was won by a Dutchman, Bauke Mollema, on Saturday. Mollema earned his first Monument victory by attacking on the Civiglio climb and soloing to the line in Como. Michael Woods, very active on his birthday, was fifth.

The Course

In the 243 km from Bergamo to Como, the riders would climb seven ascents, including the legendary Madonna del Ghisallo leading to the cycling shrine on top. The Colma di Sormano came at the 180 km mark–in total it was 7.2 km long but the final 2.2 km Muro or “wall” was 14.8 percent. Then came the Civiglio climb, 4 km of 10 percent, before the last climb of San Fermo Della Battaglia, which peaked 5 km from the finish line.

It was Michael Woods’ birthday, the Canadian turning 33.

Eight fugitives got away and had a 5:22 gap over the Jumbo-Visma-led peloton at the 100 km mark. By the top of the Madonna del Ghisallo, the breakaway was down to a duo, and Ineos was pulling 2:15 behind.

Muro di Sormano

Sormano followed hard on the heels of the climb to the Madonna del Ghisallo, and Giro d’Italia stage winner Fausto Masnada and Toms Skujiņš, third in the Tre Valli Varesine, carried on in front but were joined by Bob Jungels.

Woods kept a Bora-Hansgrohe and Ineos move under control on the first grades of the Muro.

Woods in a leading group on the Muro di Sormano.

Alejandro Valverde reached the group before the crest. On the descent the group swelled to around 30, but there had been a decanting on the Wall.

On the rollers around the shore of Lake Como, Tim Wellens and Emanuel Buchmann, fourth place in the Tour de France, flew the coop. The German-Belgian duo reached the foot of Civiglio with a 39-second lead over the Jumbo-Visma-powered group.

Civiglio

When the road tilted up, Vincenzo Nibali hit a thrown bike bottle and nearly crashed. Buchmann left Wellens behind. Both were absorbed by Movistar hauling the peloton. David Guadu and Woods accelerated, reliving their surges in Milano-Torino. Valverde flashed past Buchmann, Woods and Primož Roglič the first to reach Buchmann. It was then that Mollema attacked up the left hand side of the road.

Mollema quickly yanked out a 30-second lead. Roglič led a nontet of chasers that included Woods. Pierre Latour detached himself from the nine to attempt to bridge.

Endgame

With Civiglio and Latour behind him and 16-km in front of him, Mollema beat on. Latour returned to the dithering chase group as the Dutchman piled up more seconds. Roglič bolted on the others and tried to time trial over.

On the final climb of San Fermo Della Battaglia Roglič was snagged by Valverde, Woods, Egan Bernal and Jakob Fuglsang. These five riders tried to shake each other. Valverde dashed away after the peak.

Mollema had plenty of time to celebrate. Valverde, Bernal and Fuglsang formed a podium group behind. Valverde was the runner-up and Bernal rounded out the podium. Woods was first out of three man group 18-seconds behind Valverde and company.

There is one WorldTour event left, the Gree-Tour of Guangxi.