CYCLING Preview: Nibali looks for third win in Il Lombardia

Saturday marks the 112th edition of the Il Lombardia cycling race, first run in 1905 and held every year since excepting for two years, in 1943-44, during World War II.

This is one of the five “Monuments” races in cycling and one of the most revered races in the sport. The 2018 course from Bergamo to Como spans 241 km and has five climbs, notably the Colma de Sormano at 1,124 m altitude at the end of a 629 m climb over 7 km at 187 km into the race! The last 8 km are in Como, with the final on a slight descent.

The “Tour of Lombardy” field includes 11 former medalists, including two winners:

∙ Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) ~ Champion in 2015 and 2017
∙ Dan Martin (IRL) ~ Champion in 2014; second in 2011
∙ Alejandro Valverde (ESP) ~ Runner-up in 2013 and 2014
∙ Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) ~ Runner-up in 2017
∙ Diego Rosa (ITA) ~ Runner-up in 2016
∙ Daniel Moreno (ESP) ~ Runner-up in 2015
∙ Rigoberto Uran (COL) ~ Third in 2008, 2012 and 2016
∙ Gianni Moscon (ITA) ~ Third in 2017
∙ Rafal Majka (POL) ~ Third in 2013
∙ Rui Costa (POR) ~ Third in 2014
∙ Thibaut Pinot (FRA) ~ Third in 2015

Eight of the nine medalists from the last three years are in and Nibali is trying to become the ninth man with three wins in the race; since 1991, only Damiano Cunego (ITA) has achieved this, in 2004-07-08. Nibali won another of the “Monuments” – the Milan-Sanremo – earlier in the year, but suffered a fractured vertebra during the Tour de France and was only 49th in the recent WorldRoad Championships.

Four of the top five from the Worlds are entered: winner Valverde, runner-up Romain Bardet (FRA), bronze medalist Michael Woods (CAN) and fifth-placer Moscon.

Look for results here.