2022 Il Lombardia Preview and Predictions

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10/5/2022| 0 comments
by Roadcycling.com
Tadej Pogacar is ready to repeat his Il Lombardia victory
Tadej Pogacar (Jumbo-Visma) is ready to defend his Il Lombardia champion status La Presse

2022 Il Lombardia Preview and Predictions

Il Lombardia 2022 is certain to offer exciting action to spectators around the world as many stars have signed up for the final monument race of the season

This year’s Il Lombardia classic, also known as the Giro di Lombardia or the Race of the Falling Leaves, will take place on Saturday, October 8. The peloton will compete in Italy on a hilly 253-kilometer route from Bergamo to Como.

Bergamo is known for its walled core (Citta Alta) and massive Venetian defensive systems that recently became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Como, located close to the Swiss border in northern Italy, is the birth town of father of voltage and physicist Alessandro Volta (1745-1827) and birthplace of Pliny the Elder who was an author, natural philosopher, and naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire. Pliny the Elder perished during the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano in 79 AD.

This year’s Il Lombardia calls for similar levels of power and fighting spirit and while the race still concludes in Como and passes along the shores of beautiful lake Como, the route has been modified for this year’s edition. The last sixty kilometers includes a sequence of challenging climbs passing through Ghisallo, San Fermo della Battaglia, Civiglio, returning to San Fermo and then concludes near the lakeshore in Como. 

Route Description

Departing from Bergamo in Lombardy, 40 kilometers northeast of Milan, the peloton heads toward Val Seriana for a short flat stretch and then tackle a series of climbs in the Pre-Alps around the city. The cyclists then climb the Forcellino di Bianzano (Valle Rossa), ascending Ganda, the Passo della Crocetta in Dossena, the Forcella di Bura and Colle di Berbenno. 

A short flat section will transport the hopeful riders to the Lake Como shore. From here the peloton ascends from Lecco to reach Bellagio, where they meet the classic Ghisallo climb. Ghisallo features gradients up to 14% on a wide road with several hairpin bends. A very fast descent follows over long straights and ends in Maglio.

As the riders reach Como, the race will cover a final circuit of 22km. After passing the city centre they face climbing through San Fermo della Battaglia for the first time (397m), then descend back into Como. About a kilometer later the tough climb to reach Civiglio (614m) will commence, with slopes averaging around 10%, before returning through Como to climb San Fermo della Battaglia for a second time.

The final ten kilometers is inside the city of Como, following wide avenues up to a railway underpass where the climb of San Fermo della Battaglia begins. The slope is around 7% (max 10%) with a narrow carriageway and rough road surface that may prove challenging to some riders. Around five kilometers from the finish several hairpin turns feature before the top of the climb. The descent on wide, well-paved road then reaches two tunnels and two large roundabouts and ends at the final kilometer.

The Riders

A strong peloton is lining up for the 2022 Il Lombardia as teams and riders seek to use one of the final chances of the year to attract attention as the sun sets on a remarkable pro cycling season.

An in-form Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) returns to Il Lombardia to defend his champion title having won Tre Valli Varesine earlier this week. The Slovenian is looking forward to this year’s race but says he has much respect for his opponents. 

"I’m excited for Il Lombardia. It’s a different route this year, but in a race like this with the strength of the field we know things will be hard regardless. I think my condition is where it needs to be heading into the race and the whole team is really strong too. It’s a beautiful race to finish off what has been a really nice season for me.“

Newly crowned World Champion Remco Evenepoel will not participate in the race, but QuickStep teammate and former World Champion Julian Alaphilippe will be eager to put in a good performance following a crash-marred season. Bahrain-Victorious is sending Wout Poels and Mikel Landa, who has only participated in a single one-day race this season.

German team Bora-Hansgrohe has chosen Russian Aleksandr Vlasov to lead their Giro di Lombardia team. Vlasov finished third in Il Lombardia 2020, won this year’s Tour de Romandie and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, and placed 5th in the GC in the 2022 Tour de France. He will be supported by Jai Hindley and German Maximilian Schachmann, who has had a disappointing 2022 season after an impressive 2021 season in which he won the Paris-Nice, finished 3rd in Amstel Gold Race and 4th in Tour de Suisse.

Team Jumbo-Visma’s Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard is hoping to conclude his 2022 season with an impressive victory in a one-day classic. He missed out on the overall win in the CRO Race last week by just two seconds and beneath his always friendly and smiling attitude he will be eager for revenge that will allow him to add a memorable victory in Il Lombardia to his palmares. Dane Vingegaard will be supported by a strong line-up that includes Robert Gesink.

EF Education First – EasyPost are opting for their star duo Ruben Guerreiro and Rigoberto Uran to represent them in Il Lombardia with strong support. Guerreiro has had a decent season so far and Uran has shown improving form after being sidelined with a Covid-19 infection before this year’s Tour de France. Uran finished third in Il Lombardia in 2012 and 2016 but has yet to secure a top spot in the famous monument race. 

Team TotalEnergies has chosen in-form Pierre Latour to lead the line, Enric Mas will represent Team Movistar, Romain Bardet will lead Team DSM together with Thymen Arensman who impressed in the recent La Vuelta a Espana by winning the queen stage and has since signed with Ineos-Grenadiers. Trek-Segafredo is hoping for more success with Bauke Mollema and Italian Giulio Ciccone who finished 2nd in the best climber classification of this year’s Giro d’Italia.

Ineos-Grenadiers will be spearheaded by Daniel Martinez – winner of Coppa Sabatini 2022 and Tour of the Basque Country - and Adam Yates who arrives fresh off a victory in Deutschland Tour and a 6th place finish in Tre Valli Varesine. Yates will be eager to take a final victory for his Ineos team before representing UAE Team Emirates from the 2023 season.

This year’s Giro di Lombardia will be additionally memorable because it marks the end of the careers of two participants. Cycling legends Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Team Astana) and Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) have both chosen Il Lombardia as their final race. The Green Bullet Valverde has worked intensively to gain optimal form for his final race and is hoping to end his career with a bang after having placed third in Tre Valli Varesine this week. Valverde delivered a fine performance in this year’s Vuelta a Espana and was celebrated by the spectators in his home country. Nibali finished 13th in the same race in what has generally been a disappointing season for the Shark of Messina.

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