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102nd Giro di Lombardia - HC

Italy, October 18, 2008

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Damiano Cunego King of Lombardia

By Gregor Brown in Como, Italy

Damiano Cunego wins his third Gir di Lombardia
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Damiano Cunego, 27, won the Giro di Lombardia for a career-third time thanks to a risky solo move. The Italian of Team Lampre went free with 15 kilometres to race on the technical descent of Civiglio and won alone along the famed waterfront of Como with 24 seconds over Slovenian Janez Brajkovic (Astana) and Colombian Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d'Epargne).

"I am happy because it is my course and very demanding – It was a beautiful day and I gave it my all. I saw there was no one behind me," said Cunego at the finish.

The pressure was on Cunego as pre-race favourite and returning champion. His Italy-based team kept him protected all day and positioned him well for the day's final three climbs of Ghisallo, Civiglio and San Fermo.

"I knew that everyone was expecting a third win from me this morning. All the riders wanted to put me in danger and instead, I remained calm thanks to my teammates. There was great work from [Marco] Marzano, [Paolo] Tiralongo and [Alessandro] Ballan."

Cunego, victor of the 2008 Amstel Gold and the 2004 Giro d'Italia, also won the 'race of the falling leaves' in 2004 and 2007. He joins three other triple winners of Lombardia. Fausto Coppi holds the course record with five victories.

The 102nd Giro di Lombardia, one of only five Monuments, started in Varese and finished in Como. The riders covered 242 kilometres, which included the famed Madonna del Ghisallo.

Worlds' base sees riders off

Cadel Evans had bad luck in the final, as he flatted
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

The race started off in Varese at Villa Comunale, only a few metres from the point where Cunego's teammate Alessandro Ballan launched his winning move in the World Championships two weeks prior. The 168 riders rolled down Via Ledro at 10:59 and towards Como.

The riders covered the first kilometres at a blistering pace – 46.6 in the first hour. The group had splintered and 11 riders formed an escape once the race reached Como, and headed north along the western shores of Lago di Como.

Mauro Santambrogio (Lampre), Michael Rogers (Columbia), Pablo Lastras (Caisse d'Epargne), Chris Anker Sørensen (CSC Saxo Bank), Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas), Luca Paolini (Acqua Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Francesco Bellotti and Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld), Matteo Bono and Davide Viganò (Quick Step) formed a move that was able to resist until the Madonna del Ghisallo.

They worked, over the top of Intelvi at kilometre 55.9, and had a maximum lead of 9:25 at one point. The gap was at 6:50 after 100 kilometres of racing. They kept their gap through Valsassina – 5'30" in Cortinova, kilometre 142.2 – before the decent to Lecco and the start of the technical run to the base of Ghisallo.

Lampre keeps control

Teams Lampre and Quick Step led the main group in the early hours of the race. The former continued its muscle-work along twisty lakeside road to Bellagio and the start of Ghisallo.

The move of 11 narrowed down to four – Italians Santambrogio and Agnoli, Australian Rogers and Spaniard Lastras – before the 11.3-kilometre climb of Ghisallo. Gilberto Simoni of Team Diquigiovanni tore up the group behind with an attack on the early and stiff gradients of the climb. He faded, but his moved brought out Acqua Sapone Stefano Garzelli and Diquigiovanni teammate Michele Scarponi.

The front four topped Ghisallo and its sanctuary to cyclists 18 seconds over Sørensen and 46 seconds on the two Italians, Garzelli and Scarponi. Domenico Pozzovivo (CSF Group Navigare) crossed at one minute and the favourites passed at 1:25 back.

Team Lampre and CSC kept vigil for Cunego and Alexandr Kolobnev, respectively, leading into the Civiglio. Lampre, with the help of Ballan, pulled back the escapees before the base of the 2.5-kilometre climb.

Cunego makes move

Kroon lit a fire for Russian teammate Kolobnev on Civiglio. He faded, but Horner surged with Cunego and Francesco Failli of Team Acqua Sapone in tow. The three topped the climb with a slight margin on Daniel Moreno of Team Caisse d'Epargne. He chased and joined on the descent.

Olympic Champion Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) led the chase behind on the technical run down. He broke free and made his way to the front-runners on the tight switchbacks as Cunego slipped clear. Off of Civiglio, 12 kilometres to race, the Cunego held nine seconds on the four and 20 second on the group behind.

Cunego started 2.85-kilometre San Fermo with 12 seconds over the chase. Matteo Tosatto of Team Quick Step joined the Sánchez chase and soon there were around six others. Failli and Horner were most active in the move behind, but Cunego was gaining time.

He held 24 seconds at the top of San Fermo with five kilometres to race. Brajkovic and Uran broke free from the chase behind. They disparately fought for the honour of runner-up behind the king of Lombardia. The duo reached the line and Brajkovic won the sprint and lifted his arms in victory.

Australian Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) had a mechanical at the start of San Fermo and was delayed. He was a pre-race favourite.

Quick Step's Giovanni Visconti led the main chase home at 33 seconds back for fourth. The Italian, wearer of the maglia rosa in this year's Giro d'Italia, finished ahead of Kroon and CSF Group's Mauro Finetto. Horner, Garzelli, Morris Possoni (Columbia) and Failli took seventh through 10th, respectively.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net

Images by Riccardo Scanferla

Images by Régis Garnier/www.velofotopro.com

Images by Sirotti/www.sirotti.it

Results - 242km

1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre                                            5.37.04 (43.078 km/h)
2 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana                                              0.24
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne                                         
4 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quick Step                                        0.33
5 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                                      
6 Mauro Finetto (Ita) CSF Group Navigare                                        
7 Chris Horner (USA) Astana                                                     
8 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                         
9 Morris Possoni (Ita) Team Columbia                                            
10 Francesco Failli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                        
11 Craig Lewis (USA) Team Columbia                                              
12 Christian Pfannberger (Aut) Barloworld                                       
13 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                                 
14 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre                                               
15 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step                                              
16 Federico Canuti (Ita) CSF Group Navigare                                     
17 Andrea Noè (Ita) Liquigas                                                    
18 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence - Lotto                                          
19 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Tinkoff Credit Systems                                   
20 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale                                     
21 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank                                                
22 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) CSF Group Navigare                              1.04
23 Roger Beuchat (Swi) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli      1.34
24 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Lampre                                                 
25 Manuele Mori (Ita) Scott - American Beef                                     
26 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto                                            
27 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                            
28 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver                                                     
29 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                             2.20
30 Serguei Klimov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                                  
31 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone                       
32 Francesco Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                   
33 Juan Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld                                         
34 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                               
35 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli        
36 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Liquigas                                           
37 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas                                               
38 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Columbia                                      
39 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Liquigas                                          
40 Massimo Codol (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                       2.26
41 Niklas Axelsson (Swe) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli    3.04
42 Ivan Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                           3.17
43 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                           
44 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                               
45 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team Columbia                                        4.10
46 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre                                               
47 Martin Velits (Svk) Team Milram                                          5.52
48 Andry Grivko (Ukr) Team Milram                                               
49 Walter Fernando Pedraza Morales (Col) Tinkoff Credit Systems                 
50 Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                                  
51 Iñigo Landaluze Intxaurraga (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                        
52 Michael Barry (Can) Team Columbia                                            
53 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Lampre                                                 
54 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                               
55 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Barloworld                                          
56 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli       7.37
57 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli       
58 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                  
59 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank                                             9.27
60 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank                                              
61 Ermanno Capelli (Ita) Scott - American Beef                                  
62 René Mandri (Est) AG2R La Mondiale                                           
63 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Silence - Lotto                                         
64 Kjell Carlström (Fin) Liquigas                                               
65 Andrea Tonti (Ita) Quick Step                                                
66 Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone                     
67 Roberto Traficante (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli     
68 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli     
69 Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                                   
70 Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                              
71 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                                  
72 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas                                                
73 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                                     
74 Steven Cummings (GBr) Barloworld                                             
75 Jean Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone                   
76 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                    
77 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia                                           
78 Davide Viganò (Ita) Quick Step                                               
79 Nicolas Hartmann (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone                10.17
80 Andrea Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                 10.27
81 Michael Schär (Swi) Astana                                              11.19
82 Matej Mugerli (Slo) Liquigas                                                 
83 Marlon Alirio Perez Arango (Col) Caisse d'Epargne                            
84 Javier Aramendia Llorente                                                    
85 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                      
86 Roman Kireyev (Kaz) Astana                                                   
87 Benoît Joachim (Lux) Astana                                                  
88 John-Lee Augustyn (RSA) Barloworld                                           
89 Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française des Jeux                                   
90 Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                        
91 Florent Brard (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone                        
92 Lucas Euser (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30                               
93 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step                                         16.20
94 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30                          
DNF Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre                                                
DNF Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre                                                    
DNF Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre                                                  
DNF Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre                                             
DNF Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                     
DNF Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo                           
DNF Philip Deignan (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale                                       
DNF Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                        
DNF Alexandre Usov (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale                                       
DNF Jean-Charles Senac (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                   
DNF Ludovic Turpin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                       
DNF Berik Kupeshov (Kaz) Astana                                                 
DNF Gregory Rast (Swi) Astana                                                   
DNF Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana                                                   
DNF Diego Caccia (Ita) Barloworld                                               
DNF Gianpaolo Cheula (Ita) Barloworld                                           
DNF Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Barloworld                                          
DNF Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                  
DNF Yohann Gène (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                          
DNF Erki Pütsep (Est) Bouygues Telecom                                          
DNF Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                     
DNF Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                      
DNF Anthony Charteau (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne                                     
DNF Yann Huguet (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone                         
DNF Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone                   
DNF Alexandre Blain (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone                     
DNF Francesco Tomei (Ita) CSF Group Navigare                                    
DNF Fortunato Baliani (Ita) CSF Group Navigare                                  
DNF Filippo Savini (Ita) CSF Group Navigare                                     
DNF Marco Frapporti (Ita) CSF Group Navigare                                    
DNF Ariel Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) CSF Group Navigare                          
DNF Josu Agirre Aseginolaza (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                           
DNF Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                         
DNF Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                            
DNF Mickaël Chérel (Fra) Française des Jeux                                     
DNF Timothy Gudsell (NZl) Française des Jeux                                    
DNF Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des Jeux                                       
DNF Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Française des Jeux                                    
DNF Steven Cozza (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30                             
DNF Huub Duyn (Ned) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30                                
DNF Michael Friedman (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30                         
DNF Daniel Martin (Irl) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30                            
DNF David Zabriskie (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30                          
DNF Mauro Facci (Ita) Quick Step                                                
DNF Alessandro Proni (Ita) Quick Step                                           
DNF Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) Quick Step                                         
DNF Bram De Groot (Ned) Rabobank                                                
DNF Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank                                                   
DNF Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank                                              
DNF Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank                                                
DNF Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank                                                 
DNF Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Scott - American Beef                              
DNF Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Scott - American Beef                             
DNF Angel Gomez (Spa) Scott - American Beef                                     
DNF Hector Gonzalez Baeza (Spa) Scott - American Beef                           
DNF Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Scott - American Beef                                 
DNF Nazareno Rossi (Swi) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli        
DNF Mario Aerts (Bel) Silence - Lotto                                           
DNF Christophe Brandt (Bel) Silence - Lotto                                     
DNF Dario David Cioni (Ita) Silence - Lotto                                     
DNF Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Silence - Lotto                                     
DNF Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto                                    
DNF Scott Davis (Aus) Team Columbia                                             
DNF Jason McCartney (USA) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                                  
DNF Luca Barla (Ita) Team Milram                                                
DNF Sergio Ghisalberti (Ita) Team Milram                                        
DNF Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Milram                                           
DNF Matej Jurco (Svk) Team Milram                                               
DNF Sebastian Schwager (Ger) Team Milram                                        
DNF Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Team Milram                                            
DNF Nikita Eskov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                                   
DNF Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                               
DNF Alexander Serov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems