Tour of Lombardy: Victory for Fuglsang

In a drama filled race, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) wins the Tour of Lombardy from George Bennett – heavy crash for Remco Evenepoel sees him out for rest of season

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Tour of Lombardy: Victory for Fuglsang

Astana Press Release
After 231 demanding kilometers out in the heat at the race of the falling leaves, Astana’s leader Jakob Fuglsang powered to an amazing Monument victory in Como, the second of his career after Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2019.

The second Monument of the season, Il Lombardia took the peloton from Bergamo to Como today on a course that covered more than 230 demanding kilometers and offered six tough climbs, like the Colle Gallo, Muro di Sormano or Civiglio. All of the climbs were around seven kilometers long with pitches of over 9% and, on top of this tough course, the weather forecast expected temperatures of around 30 degrees.

It took quite a long time until a group of 11 riders formed the breakaway of the day and opened up a gap of more than three minutes. As expected the peloton paid attention and, on the way up to the third climb of the day, the Madonna del Ghisallo, the breakaway fell apart. Astana Pro Team took control over the reduced bunch and especially Aleksandr Vlasov and Harold Tejada showed excellent form supporting their leader Jakob Fuglsang.

On the descent, the leading group of the race was diminished to seven riders, with Jakob Fuglsang and Aleksandr Vlasov setting the pace. Heading towards Como, Jakob Fuglsang made the final decisive move and was able to distance himself. Over the last 5 kilometers the Danish rider had quite a big gap and arrived in Como alone almost a minute ahead of George Bennett, who took second. Teammate Aleksandr Vlasov, who did an amazing job for Jakob in the closing kilometers, finished the perfect day for the team off with a strong third place.

Jakob Fuglsang: I am super happy to win here today and to add another Monument to my palmarès. It’s amazing. I knew I was coming into this race in good shape and I felt like I could win the race but it is always easier to say that than it is to actually do it. The team was super today and they did a great job for me all day especially Vlasov, who was really strong and with me right until the final kilometers. It was great to have him there with me. I knew that in the final I could win the sprint against Bennett but on that last climb, I decided to speed up and try to see if I could distance him earlier and that worked out perfectly so, like I said before, I am really happy. I was just watching the race now and saw that he [Evenepoel] was not behind us after that bridge. I heard he had crashed but I thought he was still racing. I hope that he is okay. That’s not the way you want anyone to finish a race. – Jakob Fuglsang

Aleksandr Vlasov: Today was a good day for us, we were working the whole day together and set the pace. I think, we showed a great teamwork and I am also happy with my third place, I supported Jakob and at the end as he went on, I rode my own rhythm. It was a tough and long race but he took the control over the race. I just want to say that I hope Remco is well and I wish him a speedy recovery. –


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George Bennett: “It was a great day”, says Bennett. “I have done this race many times, but the pace was never so high in the opening stages. The team dropped me off perfectly at the begin of the Madonna del Ghisallo. Some teams were in the final with several riders. I did everything I could to take advantage of it, but at some point it became too much. Fuglsang was able to follow my attacks and turned out to be stronger. It’s a pity I couldn’t win, but I’m still proud of my performance. I am happy how we, as a team, have ridden the past Italian races.”

Bauke Mollema: “I am a little bit disappointed to just miss the podium, but there were just three guys stronger today,” said Mollema. “As a team, I think we rode strong, finishing 4, 5, and 6. Even after Ghisallo, we had five guys there, and then on Sormano, it totally exploded and [the bunch] was just with seven guys left. I felt pretty good, only the heat in the finale was a little bit too much for me, and I guess hard for everyone since the differences were pretty big in the top 10.”

Vincenzo Nibali: “I rode the last 50km with cramps,” explained Nibali. “Bauke and Giulio were better, and I put myself at their disposal. It was a complicated and conditioned finale; I couldn’t push as I wanted. On the Civiglio climb,, I tried to keep a regular pace, both for me and my teammates. When the race exploded it was difficult to do more, and we saw the difference. I think the result is decent,” added Nibali. “We always race to win, but we have to be realistic and accept it. There are riders more brilliant than us in these first races and in this moment. We can be satisfied because overall the performance is improving race by race, we have shown solidity and teamwork, but we lack days of racing in the legs and stage races that allow you to make a quantum leap in terms of sharpness.”

Giulio Ciccone: “I’m somewhat satisfied because it is true that we gave everything and we didn’t give up until the finish line, but expectations were different when we found ourselves with three of the same team in a group of six. It was good teamwork, as far as possible, simply the other three had something extra,” echoed Ciccone. “On a personal level, if I look at my performance, I’m happy. Until now Lombardia was suited to my characteristic only on paper because it has always rejected me. Today I was competitive. I think we have to look to the future with confidence, not only myself but also as a team. Race after race, the condition is growing. We lack that change of pace that makes the difference in the finale, which you only get by racing. We didn’t win, but we were competitive. It’s an encouraging sign.”

Ben Hermans “I could save up lots of energy today, thanks to my teammates. Way more than the years before”, he said after his eighth participation in Il Lombardia. “I was close to top-10 a few times in my life here, but never quite made it. I am very happy with a top-10 this year.”

Jens Zemke, Bora Hansgrohe: Sports Director – car on the course … “The team rode very well today to support our leaders, and fought with the tough conditions, including the hot weather, long and nervous race, and high speeds. The plan was to have Rafa, Max and Patrick up front after the Colma di Sormano. In the end, we were represented there by Rafa and Max in a select group. They took up the chase of the leading group, and they put in a good effort. Unfortunately, 3 km ahead of the finale, a car deviated onto the course and crashed with Max. Even despite the crash, he managed to remount his bike and cross the line in a very respectable seventh place. To crash like this is a huge pity, and we hope that he will be ok. He was showing good form, and has some significant races coming up, such as national championships and the Tour de France. After the race, he went to the hospital for x-rays, and we are now awaiting the results.“

Robert Stannard (Mitchelton Scott) “Today we started the race well, following the plan and conserving energy before the decisive run-in down to the lake. We worked well together to put Mikel (Nieve), Callum (Scotson), Michael Albasini and I into a good position for the bottom of Ghisallo. That is where the race really began, and none of us had the legs to follow the front group. I think it is really important to do these races and use them as a learning experience. Il Lombardia is one of the most important one day races of the year, and also a race in which I’d like to do well in the future.”

Remco Evenepoel Update – The 20-year-old Belgian suffered multiple injuries during Saturday’s Il Lombardia when he crashed off a bridge. Remco Evenepoel crashed inside the last 50 kilometers, on the descent of Muro di Sormano, hitting a bridge wall and going over it into a ravine. Placed into a precautionary neck brace and taken to the Como hospital by ambulance, Remco was conscious at all times as he underwent a series of examinations to reveal the extent of his injury. Unfortunately, the X-rays showed a fractured pelvis and a right lung contusion, which will keep Evenepoel – a winner of four stage races this season – on the sidelines for the upcoming period. Our rider will remain in the hospital overnight under observation, before flying on Sunday to Belgium.

1. Jakob Fuglsang Astana Pro Team 5:32:54
2. George Bennett Team Jumbo – Visma @ 31
3. Aleksander Vlasov Astana Pro Team @ 51
4. Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo @ 1:19
5. Giulio Ciccone Trek-Segafredo @ 1:40
6. Vincenzo Nibali Trek-Segafredo @ 3:31
7. Maximilian Schachmann Bora-Hansgrohe @ 4:31
8. Diego Ulissi UAE Team Emirates @ 5:20
9. Ben Hermans Israel Start-Up Nation @ 6:00
10. Mathieu van der Poel Alpecin-Fenix @ 6:28

41. Edward Dunbar Team Ineos @ 14:28

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