Il Lombardia: A Lake Shark Attack

Rain rain go away! A bet against the weather that was supposed stormy. A dry Lombardia landing in Como after too many years. The sun shining and the Shark on the attack.
After 35 km a small group excapes: Barbin, De Negri, Van Winden, Geschke, Schumacher, Polanc, Canola, Busato, Gatto and Benedetti have 4'10". 60 km to go only Benedetti and Canola remain ahead. Gap is 3’20”. 
50 km to go, Muro di Sormano: break caught, Kwiatkowski is leading solo, Wellens chasing just behind. They reach the top together 20" ahead the first group with the all the favorites, while the peloton exploded up the climb
43k to go: it's a technical descent down the Muro di Sormano. 
Embedded image permalink20 km to go, Civigno: Wellens and Kwiatowski are caught. Team Astana is chasing hard by Diego Rosa. Bardet gets dropped. Up they go, on a very high pace. Toward the top Nibali attacks, Pinot on his wheel. In this decimated group there are Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Vincenzo Nibali, Diego Rosa (Astana), Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), Daniel Moreno (Katusha), Alejandro Valvede (Movistar) and Mikel Nieve (Team Sky). 
19 km to go Nibali attacks again, Chaves on his wheel. Nibali attacks for the 3rd time but Chaves is there. Now Pinot attacks with Nieve but Rosa is fast to close on him.
All together again. Today Diego Rosa is simply on fire.
Descent: Nibali attacks and nobody respond. He goes.
10 km to go, San Fermo della Battaglia: the last, short, steep climb. Nibali is solo at 30'', Rosa playing stopper in the chasing group against Chaves, Nieve and Pinot. Chaves is now cramping and can't keep the wheels. 
6 km to go Moreno and Pinot attack together, then is Moreno solo. Too late: in Como Nibali is in the barriers, Moreno still chasing at 12''. Lungo Lago. Huge crowd. Windy. An Italian flag flies to rest on the winner chest.
A clod breeze ripples the dark blue water of the lake and solitary dark green hills savagely stand out agaist the clean cold sky. I'd like to be there.

Vincenzo Nibali:
"It's a special day, my wife's birthday so this victory is for her. My team has been splendid. I tried several times on the climb but the pace was very high and I was closely watched. I undderstood I had to wait. Winning a Classic isn't easy, it's just one day, you need a bit of good luck. My team has been great."
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Bauke Mollema:
“Yeah, maybe the season was just a little bit too long for me. I wanted to try today, I really like this race, and I felt quite good for the first part of the race. When it really started on the first part of the Sormano I was in good position and felt okay until we hit the steepest part and I just didn’t have the power.
This is a really hard race, it’s an honest race, and when you are not good enough you just get dropped and that was my story.  As a team, it’s a pity because we were not in the race for the last 50 kilometers.
For the first 150 kilometers Giacomo [Nizzolo], Laurent [Didier] and Popo [Yaroslav Popovych] did a really good job of protecting us and keeping us in front so it’s too bad we couldn’t transfer that in a result.”

Team Sky DS Dario Cioni:
"The guys did a good job out there and I think as a team it was a good performance. We probably expected a bit more from Wout but it's the end of the season and it was a hard race. At the end of the day the legs are how they are and you can't always be up there at the end. It was good to see so many of our guys still in the front group going for the win with 10km to go. Unfortunately no one had the punch to finish it off. Mikel did a good ride. He was just behind the podium and in that group he wasn't the favourite for the sprint against Valverde and Rosa. It was also good to see Sergio finishing the season off on a high with a good result. This time last year he didn't even know if he'd be back racing so he must be really pleased. With all the work he's done this year he'll be in a much better place next year."

Thibaut Pinot:
“It’s a hard race but it’s a great race. Nibali was simply too strong for the rest of us today. He was the strongest, the smartest and the sneakiest. He attacked at the right moment after bossing the race. He attacked several times on the climb and then attacked on the descent too. He got 200 metres on us and that was enough, it was race over for the rest of us.
I’m proud of my place on the podium because Lombardia was a big goal of mine and I worked hard to be good here. To make it on the podium after such a hard, selective race against such good riders is a good day for me. I’m happy.
I’m heading home tomorrow morning and I’m on holiday from tonight. It’s time to relax and switch off a little bit. I think I’ve had a good season. I won five races, a podium in a monumental Classic and a stage win at the Tour, so it’s been a good season.
I hope to ride the Giro d’Italia next year to aim for a place on the podium. I like the Giro but of course, like for any French rider, the Tour de France always has priority. We’ll see….”

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 6:16:28
2 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:21
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:32
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:46
5 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team
6 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky
7 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:56
8 Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky
9 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:10

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