Big win for Joaquim Rodriguez in Lombardy

The final monument classic of the year, the Tour of Lombardy in Italy, has been won by Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez who is now World Number 1

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It was a great triumph for Joaquim Rodriguez who led the Tour of Spain for so long before finishing third overall and was a victory that saw him take the lead of the WorldTour ranking from Britain’s Bradley Wiggins. The leader of the Katusha Team put in a great attack with ten kilometres to go on the last climb in Villa Vergano (3 kilometers long, 7,4% average, 15% max), which nobody had an answer for.

The chasing group tried to close the gap on the following descent, but with no luck and the rider nicknamed ‘Purito’ gave it full gas in that section of the race to take a fantastic solo win, 9” ahead of Tour of Britain rider Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), in second position, and Rigoberto Uran (Sky) in third.

With just one World Tour race to go, “Tour of Beijing”, the Spanish rider has 692 points: Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is second with 601 points, while Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is third with 410.

“This is the most important triumph of my whole career – said Rodriguez – this for me was a perfect season: I won “Fleche-Wallonne”, I took the second position in “Giro d’Italia”, third place in “Vuelta a Espana”. After that I did my best in order to get ready for the World Championships and “Giro di Lombardia”: in the former my performance was so and so, but in the latter it was a triumph.”

“Obviously, I have to thank all my Katusha Team for this victory: particularly, I want to thank again Igor Makarov and ITERA, which put in the best condition for doing such a great job during this season. Today I was feeling in great shape: in fact I made my teammates work during all the crucial moments of the race. When I saw that all my rivals were tired and I felt so great, I realized I had a great chance to win.”

“Villa Vergano uphill suited me a lot: I managed to make the difference, to tell the truth, I thought that somebody would join me in that attack, but instead nobody could answer it and that makes this victory even greater. I think I was one of the favorite riders since the beginning: I was fighting for a double goal, to win this prestigious competition and to take the lead of UCI World Tour Ranking, and I managed to. So I’m really happy”.

World Chamion Phillipe Gilbert Crashes
While BMC’s Mauro Santambrogio posted a season-best fourth place finish in the rain-soaked edition of Il Lombardia, teammates former world Champion Alessandro Ballan and current world road champion Philippe Gilbert both crashed on a rain-slickened descent and withdrew.

Santambrogio was part of a small group that chased solo winner Joaquin Rodriguez all the way to the line after the Katusha Team rider escaped on the final climb and soloed in nine seconds clear. “A few moments after the crashes on the Muro di Sormano, (BMC Racing Team Director Sportif) John Lelangue said on the radio I could ride for myself,” Santambrogio said. “I was feeling pretty good and was one of the strongest guys in the chasing group.”

“I’m satisfied with fourth place.” Santambrogio’s result was his best finish of the season and best result in six participations in the “race of the falling leaves.” The BMC Racing Team’s only other finisher was Greg Van Avermaet (17th), as only 54 of the 199 starters finished the race.

Gilbert had his first outing as world road champion but he and Ballan fell in separate crashes about 70 kilometers from the finish of the 251 kilometer race. Gilbert said he had just regained contact with the front group when he crashed while going 60 kilometers an hour.

“With the cold, I was feeling a bit paralyzed and at the beginning, I was afraid because I couldn’t move for one or two minutes and I was fearing there was something broken,” Gilbert said. “Then I checked and saw everything was OK. So in the end, it’s a pity because I had good feelings and could have maybe done something. But I’m feeling lucky I crashed now and not one week ago. If it had been a stage race, I think I wouldn’t have abandoned. But today, after the crash, my race was over.”

BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said Gilbert has superficial abrasions on his right elbow, right shoulder and right knee but no major muscle problems, no broken bones and no concussion. “Right now it just looks he just has some bad road rash,” Testa said. “Alessandro also has superficial abrasions and a muscular bruise on the right side. But he also does not have a concussion.”

1. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ KAT 6:36:27
3. Rigoberto Uran SKY
4. Mauro Santambrogio BMC
5 Sergio Luis Henao SKY
6. Ryder Hesjedal GRS
7. Bauke Mollema RAB
8 Oliver ZAUGG RNT (former winner)
9 Alberto Contador Saxobank
10 Fredrik Kessiakoff AST

15. Simon CLARKE GreenEdge
16. Daniel MARTIN  +1:23 Garmin
26. Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:30
28. Ivan Basso Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:50
47. Johnny Hoogerland Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:10:14


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