After very exciting and lively race, Estaban Chavez won the Italian classic, Il Lombardia. In the last UCI World Tour event of 2016 season, Victor de la Parte was the team’s top finisher.
The riders rolled off the start in Como to cover 241 kilometers to Bergamo. There were 6 significant climbs on the menu, making it one of the toughest courses in the monument’s history. The final 100km were all up-and-down with ascents up to 11 kilometers long and 17% steep. In the very end, with just 3,5km to go there was a little, but hard “bump”, which was also expected to have some importance in the race’s outcome.
The competition got off to a fast start and it took a long time to form the breakaway of the day. After 65km of racing finally 4 riders went clear – Damiano Caruso (BMC), Rudy Molard (Cofidis), Michael Cherel (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling) – establishing the maximum gap of 7:30.
The break split on Sant Antonio Abbandonato climb and the bunch got shattered. Sadly CCC Sprandi Polkowice were not able to keep up the pace of the main, around 40-man group. Caruso crested the top as first, with more than one minute of advantage over Molard.
The next climb made even bigger selection, as the main pack was reduced to just 15 riders. They caught Caruso with 40km to go. Another move turned out to be the decisive one. Romain Bardet (Ag2R La Mondiale), Riboerto Uran (Cannondale – Drapac), Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange), Diego Rosa (Astana) pulled away in the climb and never looked back.
They were only extending their gap and approached the last 1,3-kilometer “bump” with over minute lead over the chasers. On the punchy hill Uran and Chavez launched an attack dropping Bardet. Rosa managed to stay with them and kicked few times in the finale, but unsuccessfully. He was also the first one to start the sprint, but was overtaken by Chavez just before the line. Colombian claimed the win becoming first non-European winner of Il Lombardia. Rosa was second and Uran third.
The race was completed only by 61 riders. Victor de la Parte finished in 52nd and Davide Rebellin in 54th.