Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) took his second victory at Il Lombardia on Saturday when he soloed to the finish in Como alone.
The Italian finished 28″ ahead of Julain Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors) with Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) a further 10 seconds behind. His win was in a similar fashion to his first victory in 2015.
The peloton was split to pieces on the steep Muro di Sormano, the 1.9km climb averaging 15.8%. Nibali then attacked on Civiglio, the penultimate hill of the day, and made it across to Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). The Frenchman was no match for Nibali on the descent of the Civiglio though and was dropped as Nibali time-trialled to the finish in Como.
“It was a perfect day,” said Nibali. “I was still better than two years ago and I think you have seen it. In the last flat part my speed was over 50 km/h and so it was not easy to come and catch me. For me, it was number 50 win and I wanted to point out at the finish line. ”
“I understand that I should have invented something. On the hardest part of Civiglio I started with a dry attack. I made a difference, I took Pinot and I have fallen down. It was nice to see so many people on the streets to see me, a really cool emotion. ”
“I got great support from my team. I had great physical condition from the end of the season, but everyone was looking to me as the favourite so it was not easy to win,” concluded Nibali.
As Nibali soloed to victory, Alaphilippe attacked from the pursuing group on the final climb to go and take second.
“It’s incredible, I wasn’t expecting to be on the podium today. After the World Championships I kept my focus and arrived here very motivated. I did my best when Nibali attacked, but couldn’t follow him, so I decided to ride my own tempo and see how that goes”, said Julian Alaphilippe, who now boasts podiums at Milano-Sanremo, Liège–Bastogne–Liège and Il Lombardia.
“I didn’t win, but I can’t say I am disappointed. To finish on the podium of a Monument is something special and it makes me happy to see my legs are so strong in the month of October.”
Bahrain Merida Directeur Sportif Alberto Volpi commented afterwards: “It has been a win with the legs but also with a big heart. Vincenzo was outstanding and the team also gave him a great help. On days like this, it’s hard to imagine something better.”