The Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE), double champion of the Tour de France, won this Saturday the second ‘classic monument’ of his career, by winning at Il Lombardía, with a route of 239 kilometers between Como and Bergamo.
Pogacar beat Italian Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck Quick Step) to the sprint and finished the race in six hours, one minute and 39 seconds, which allowed him to add the 115th edition of Il Lombardía to his record, which also includes Liege Bastogne Liège this year.
The British Adam Yates (Ineos) closed the podium, entering 51 seconds behind Pogacar, on a negative day for the Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), who entered fourth, off the podium, followed by the Spanish Alejandro Valverde (Movistar ), fifth.
At 23, Pogacar put the finishing touch on an extraordinary season, in which he won two ‘monuments’ and a grand return, a feat that had not been recorded since 1973, with Belgian Eddie Merckx as the protagonist.
This Saturday in the northern region of Lombadía there was no lack of the usual initial escape. This time it was the French Thomas Champion (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits), the Belgians Jan Bakelants (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux), Victor Campenaerts (Team Qhubeka NextHash) and Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), the Australian Chris Hamilton (Team DSM) , the Italians Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec), Davide Orrico (Vini Zabù) and Andrea Garosio (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), the Slovenian Domen Novak (Bahrain – Victorious) and the Eritrean Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek – Segafredo) who sought the glory.
They attacked at the beginning of the test and achieved a maximum advantage of six and a half minutes, although they never had any real chance of reaching the finish line and were caught by the peloton fifty kilometers from Bergamo.
Pogacar showed his might on the ascent to Passo di Ganda, some 35 kilometers from the finish, and escaped the group with a powerful and authoritarian attack, but the double Giro d’Italia champion suffered greatly on the next descent.
He risked falling on up to two occasions, skimming the wall of the road, and Masnada, a runner born in Bergamo, who knew that area perfectly, was the protagonist of an excellent action to reach him 16 kilometers from the finish.
In the peloton, Alejandro Valverde showed a good condition and was next to Julian Alaphilippe, Michael Woods and Adam Yates, with a delay of 45 seconds with five kilometers remaining.
Pogacar and Masnada reached the final climb together, bound for Bergamo Alta, with slopes that touch 12%, exchanging glances and signals, while the peloton was losing its options to fight for victory.
The Italian, supported by local fans, tried to stay glued until the end, but Pogacar, a master at this type of finals, imposed his law to put the icing on a historic season.