Philippe Gilbert Wins 2010 Giro di Lombardia
Philippe Gilbert (Team Omega Pharma-Lotto) escapes to win in 2010 Tour of Lombardy ahead of Michele Scarponi and Team Caisse d'Epargne's Pablo Lastras.
Team Omega Pharma-Lotto's Philippe Gilbert confirmed his position as one of the world's best one-day racers by winning his second straight Tour of Lombardy classic in pouring rain earlier today.
The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider, who won the Tour of the neighbouring Italian region of Piedmont on Thursday also for a second successive year, triumphed on the 260-km route from Milan to Como.
"Today it was a difficult race, it was always cold and there was a lot of rain," the 28-year-old, who claimed the Amstel Gold race this April, told reporters after receiving the distinctive wheel-like trophy and two warm kisses from the race hostesses.
"I am always good in the cold and the rain, I'm used to it," Gilbert commented and added "Now my aim is to win the 2011 Liege-Bastogne-Liege." Michele Scarponi finished second with Spain's Pablo Lastras third.
The 104th edition of the race started at the new, gleaming headquarters of the Lombardy regional government in central Milan but the peleton soon left behind the skyscrapers and reasonably mild weather.
Grey skies turned to heavy rain as the riders, led by an early group of six, headed into the hills and circumnavigated Lake Como with the slippery conditions making the winding roads tricky.
Tour of Spain winner Vincenzo Nibali fell while in contention on the last major descent, leaving Italian compatriot Scarponi and Gilbert to break away.
Scarponi suffered a problem with his chain five kms from home, allowing Gilbert to glide to another victory in front of the hardy fans with umbrellas who braved the lakeside in Como.
The Tour of Lombardy was the final race of the UCI World Calendar and marks the end of another troubled year for cycling because of doping.
Tour de France champion Alberto Contador was provisionally suspended last month for testing positive for a small quantity of clenbuterol which the Spaniard blamed on contaminated meat.
Former Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca was cleared to race again from Saturday after having the remainder of his two-year drugs ban scrapped after he helped authorities in a probe into widespread doping in Italy.