Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) claimed his third successive victory in Il Lombardia today, following a daring downhill attack along the Passo di Ganda 31 kilometers from the finish in Bergamo to cross the line in solo fashion almost a minute ahead of Andrea Bagioli (Soudal-QuickStep) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) after both riders were dropped during the final 10 kilometers.
The battle for the breakaway started as soon as the flag dropped, with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Dstny) leading a ten-man group up the road, while a group of six riders including Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers) and Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck) later bridged their way to the leaders after 36 kilometers of racing.
Meanwhile, chaos struck the peloton, after a crash saw a handful of riders go down, ensnaring the likes of Remco Evenepoel and two of his Soudal Quick-Step teammates, as well as Giovanni Aleotti (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Sjoerd Bax (UAE Team Emirates), who abandoned.
A steady pace led by Jumbo-Visma, EF Education-EasyPost and UAE Team Emirates along the climb of the Roncola, caused several riders in the peloton to struggle with 135 kilometers still to go, while simultaneously reducing the breakaway group’s advantage to 2:30.
With 100 kilometers remaining, the breakaway slowly started to disintegrate, with Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) and Oscar Onley (dsm-firmenich) attacking on the Passo della Croscetta, a move that saw the duo bridge to the lead group some 30 kilometers later.
At the foot of the Passo di Ganda, Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) and Soudal Quick-Step set a fierce pace, quickly catching the leaders and seeing a group of riders chip off the front of the peloton, while behind, Evenepoel was dropped and saw the race go again from him. Yates was joined by his teammate Pogačar, Roglič, Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla), Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) and Bagioli, among others, though the situation was not fully settled as the race entered the final 35 kilometers.
A few kilometers from the top of the climb, Pogačar attacked, taking Vlasov with him at first, but dropping the Bora-Hansgrohe rider on the descent and pulling out a gap on his own. Finishing the descent with 13 kilometers to go, Pogačar had a lead of 43 seconds, pulling out more of an advantage over the seven-man group that contained Roglič, Bagioli and Carapaz, while behind, Evenepoel had made a return and was leading the third group on the road.
Going into the final 10 kilometers, Pogačar looked like he may be struggling, banging his legs in what is often a sign of cramp, but the clock didn’t reflect that as his lead held steady, growing to a minute into the final 4 kilometers. Despite some gaps on the Aperto climb, the chasing group came towards the finish together, preparing for a sprint for second.
Up ahead, Pogačar was able to sit up and enjoy his victory, adding to his win in the Tour of Flanders earlier this year, and taking his fifth Monument victory. In the sprint from the chasers, Gran Piemonte winner Bagioli claimed second, whilst big pre-race favorite Roglič took third.
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