Philippe Gilbert hopes a rainbow will shine over Giro di Lombardia
Taking place just one week from the UCI Road World Championships, riders will be looking to Il Lombardia to take their revenge on the new champion.
The Belgian ace, who won the Giro di Lombardia classic organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport in 2009 and 2010, is looking for a third victory. The last rider that won the “dead leaves classic” in the World Champion jersey was Paolo Bettini in 2006.
World Champion Gilbert was presented with his rainbow-striped kit and matching BMC teammachine SLR01 before the event.
"I think it (the race) will be a little bit special because it will be the first time I will wear this jersey," Gilbert said and added "I just received it yesterday at the hotel. Hincapie Sportswear did good work. It looks good and nice with 'BMC' on it."
Gilbert said he won't mind if the 251 kilometer race is run in the rain, as is forecast.
"It's a good thing for me," he explained. "I'm good in the descents and I have good tires. We have a strong team, too, and I have a good week of training behind me."
Trying to ruin the plans of the World Champion are a group of great riders. The Vuelta a Espana and recent Milan-Torino winner, Alberto Contador; Giro d’Italia winner, Ryder Hesjedal; Joaquin Rodriguez (a specialist on similar courses); Vincenzo Nibali (one of the dominating riders in last years race); Rigoberto Uran (winner of this year’s Gran Piemonte); Samuel Sanchez; Ivan Basso; Damiano Cunego (who has won Il Lombardia three times: 2004, 2007 and 2008); Franco Pelizzotti (Italian Champion); Diego Ulissi; Oliver Zaugg (winner of last year’s race, who will start wearing no.1)
Together with these race favorites all the riders who have the legs to compete on the tough course will fight for the final victory, after climbing the famous Muro di Sormano – back in the race after a 50 year period of absence. There will be 25 teams at the start, each one with eight riders (18 World Tour and 7 wild cards).
Starting at 09.30 EST on the Signature Podium in Bergamo, race organizer Rcs Sport will celebrate Felice Gimondi, who turns 70 today, giving him three special celebrative medals to remember his victories in past editions of Giro d’Italia, Milan-San Remo and Il Lombardia.
Following this event Gimondi will receive two celebrative jerseys dedicated to his victories in Il Lombardia in 1966 and 1973. Last but not least the legend from Bergamo will fire the start gun.
During the Il Lombardia, climbing times for the tough Muro di Sormano ascent will be recorded. Results will be revealed after the end of the race.
This year La Gazzetta dello Sport will hand out a special prize dedicated to the memory of Pier Luigi Todisco, one of their journalists who died tragically a year ago while commuting to the office on his bike. The prize will go to the rider that passes the top of the Ghisallo climb first.
Watch 2012 Giro di Lombardia video highlights in the videos section of Roadcycling.com after today's race (video highlights are viewable to viewers accessing from the U.S. only - due to geo broadcast rights restrictions). Please help us spread the word about our video coverage.
The 2012 Giro di Lombardia will be broadcast live in more than seventy countries all over the world though the following TV networks: Universal Sports (USA and Canada), EUROSPORT (International and Asia Pacific); Televisa Deporte Network (Mexico and Central America), J-Sport (Japan), TV2 (Norway), NOS (The Netherlands), VRT (Belgium – Flemish Language), RTBF (Belgium – French Language); EITB (Spain – Basque Country) and SRG SSR (Switzerland).