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Il Lombardia

At the top of his form, Lorenzo Rota “knows every nook and cranny”

For the second consecutive year, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert will line up at the start of the last Monument of the season. During the 2020 season which was disturbed by the pandemic, the Belgian team discovered Il Lombardia (1.WT, 9/10) in the heart of summer. 

Even though the Classic of the falling leaves returned to its traditional place on the calendar this Saturday, the start and finish villages have been swapped for this 115th edition. Like it was for the last time in 2016, the peloton will start in Como for 239 kilometer towards Bergamo.  The parcours was entirely renewed, and from the seven categorized climbs, only the famous Madonna del Ghisallo is still on the parcours. The climb will be the first difficulty of the day for the riders after 30 kilometer, followed by a flat part next to the Lake Como.

The riders arrive soon close to Bergamo, but before entering the city, they make a detour with the six remaining difficulties. In this loop of 150 kilometer, they first encounter the Roncola (9.4 km at 6.7 %), then the Berbenno (6.9km at 5%), followed by more than 20 uphill kilometers towards the summits of Dossena (11.1km at 6.1%) and Zambla Alta (9.8km at 3.3%). The downhill then brings the riders to the foot of the  Passo di Ganda (9km at 7.1%), who precedes the short final climb Colle Aperto (1.3km at 7%). The top  of this last one is 3 kilometer before the finish in the Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII. 

This Tour of Lombardia is a special event for Lorenzo Rota and Simone Petilli, who live in the region of the race. Rota finished 18th in his fifth participation last year and aims to shine in his native town Bergamo after solid performances on Italian soil this season. He will be able to rely on Petilli, who also knows the roads very well as an habitant of a neighboring village of Lake Como. The team can also rely on the experience of Belgian rider Jan Bakelants, who participated nine times in this Monument, but also on red jersey wearers in the Tour of Spain Odd Christian Eiking and Rein Taaramäe. Czech rider Jan Hirt and South-African rider Louis Meintjes will add their climbing talent to the team directed by Valerio Piva and Steven De Neef. 

« Not one kilometer of the parcours contains secrets for me. I know each corner of the streets, which is an important factor in Il Lombardia. There are several technical and dangerous descents where I can take advantage of my parcours knowledge and downhill abilities. Make a difference or make up for lost time downhill is one of the possibilities this Saturday. Rain can even reinforce my advantage, but the weather forecast shows nice circumstances for the final of this difficult race. Two long and difficult climbs animate this final and I can't wait to race on the Passo di Ganda, on of my favorite climbs in training. It is difficult to predict my chances, but it is certain that I will give all I have to achieve a good result for the team; And I know that I can rely on strong teammates! » 

« We know that the Monuments are difficult races and that performing in these events is a synonym of prestige for the riders and the team. We did our utmost to prepare ourselves, and we can count on a leader at the top of his form. In my opinion, a top 10 for Lorenzo Rota is realistic. The same counts for Taaramäe, who showed last Wednesday in Milano-Torino that he prepared this race well. Lorenzo didn't only show his physical strength the last couple of months, but also his intelligence and strong tactics. He will maybe make the choice to anticipate attacks of the main favorites if he feels that it is necessary. Maybe this will happen downhill, because he is one of these modern riders able to make a difference on these important parts of the parcours. This Thursday, he shared his knowledge about the parcours with his teammates during the recon. I expect Jan Bakelants and Simone Petilli to accompany our leaders in the final, after Odd Eiking, Jan Hirt and Louis Meintjes accomplish their job of protection and following big moves in the beginning of the races. »

Line up :
Jan Bakelants
Odd Christian Eiking
Jan Hirt
Louis Meintjes
Simone Petilli
Lorenzo Rota
Rein Taaramäe

Sports Direction :
Valerio Piva
Steven De Neef


General Classification


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