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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, October 8, 2023

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2023 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

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Il Lombardia team reports

We posted the report from winner Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Andrea Bagioli's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Andrea Bagioli signed off Soudal Quick-Step’s 49th podium in a Monument, after an enormous ride in what was the 24-year-old’s last race for the team. Bagioli capped off what has been a tremendous week for him, which started with a third place in Coppa Bernocchi, continued with a spectacular victory in Gran Piemonte, and came to a conclusion on his home roads of Lombardia, where he took his first top three finish in a Monument.

Andrea Bagioli wins the sprint for second place. Sirotti photo

The man from Sondrio – a town lying around 90 kilometers from Bergamo, where the race ended – rode a flawless race, following all the big moves when the peloton exploded on Passo di Ganda and staying with the big favourites as the road became steeper close to the top of the climb. It was on the technical descent that Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) jumped clear, which eventually led to him winning the race, but Andrea continued to put in a fantastic display behind, part of a chasing group that included riders with a fantastic pedigree.

Riding in the company of Monument and Grand Tour winners wasn’t something unnerving for the young Italian, who took some long pulls there and climbed with ease each time the road went up, while remaining attentive and responding to the others’ moves. In the reduced sprint, Bagioli produced an impressive speed that allowed him to come from fourth wheel to clinch second place at the 117th edition of Il Lombardia – a result that cemented Soudal Quick-Step’s position on the podium of the UCI Team Classification.

“My first podium in a Monument, behind Pogacar, but in front of other amazing riders – this is something I can’t believe. I rode a perfect race and gave everything to stay with the best when the attacking began. I am happy I could win the sprint for second, despite having cramps, and with bringing my time with the team to an end with this great result. I’m sad that I am leaving and I want to thank the Wolfpack for these unforgettable four years! I am delighted that I say goodbye after an incredible week, it’s a really beautiful way to do it”, Andrea said after the race.

Remco Evenepoel was another Soudal Quick-Step rider to impress with his fighting spirit Saturday afternoon. The Belgian Champion crashed early into the race and suffered abrasions to his elbow and gluteus, and this led to him being dropped on the penultimate difficulty of the day, but staying true to his character, Evenepoel never gave up and continued to pull hard behind, eventually concluding ninth the last Monument of the season.

“I felt good, but towards the end of the race I began feeling the consequences of the crash more and more. Despite the incident, I could still come in the top ten, which shows that the legs were good but I missed something due to the crash. In the end, second and ninth for the team today isn’t too bad. Next Sunday I will go one more time full gas at the Chrono des Nations, and then I will enjoy a nice vacation, as it has been quite a long season”, Remco explained.

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Here's the report from third-place Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Primoz Roglic has finished third in the Tour of Lombardy. The Slovenian, racing for Team Jumbo-Visma for the last time, secured a podium place in the final sprint. Tadej Pogacar won the race.

The podium, from left: Andrea Bagioli (2nd), Tadej Pogacar (1st) & Primoz Roglic (3rd).

From the start, Roglic was determined to fight for victory. The Slovenian backed up this ambition by riding up front throughout the race. When Roglic seemed to have a difficult moment on one of the many climbs, he fought his way back to the front.

Moments later, Pogacar accelerated and took off. Roglic squeezed every ounce of energy out of his tired legs in the finishing straight, and the result was third place. With the finish line in Bergamo, Roglic's era with Team Jumbo-Visma ended. He achieved 74 victories, including the final classification of a grand tour on four occasions. Roglic will ride for Bora next season.

"I gave everything today”, Roglic said. "My legs let me down, but I fought until the end. I suffered in the last 50 kilometres. I consider myself lucky to be on the podium. It's the first time I've done that in this race. I would have loved to end the era with this team in style, but unfortunately, that was not possible today.”

Roglic reflected on his time with the Dutch outfit. "It was a fantastic time with Team Jumbo-Visma. I can look back on it with pride. We went through a lot together over the last eight years. It was a great time. We also achieved a lot together last season. I finished this season with third place in Lombardy. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions, with many beautiful memories that will stay with me forever. It has been an excellent chapter in my life.”

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And here's the Il Lombardia report from Romain Bardet's Team dsm-firmenich:

The picturesque Italian Lombardy region set the scene for the 117th edition of the legendary Il Lombardia, as Romain Bardet managed to cross the line in a strong 11th position after a great chase, finishing off his 2023 season in a good way on Saturday afternoon.

The parcours would bring the peloton to Bergamo over 238 kilometres, on which they had to conquer no less than 4646 elevation metres. From the flag drop in Como, it was an incredibly fast start as the peloton rolled attacks, looking to form the break of the day. A group of ten riders went clear, whilst other riders tried to bridge their way to the front group. However, a crash in the peloton – involving Remco Evenepoel – made the peloton stop chasing down any attackers and six more riders joined the day’s break.

The day's break. Sirotti photo

Nevertheless, the sixteen leaders were always kept on a tight leash, not gaining more than four minutes. Arriving at the foot of the longest climb of the day, Passo della Crocetta, Team dsm-firmenich was brought to the front after efforts from Jonas Iversby Hvideberg and Chris Hamilton. The break’s advantage then reduced even further, to less than two minutes after which Oscar Onley jumped from the wheels and attacked, joined by the Irish Ben Healy. Shortly after, Matt Dinham tried his luck, but his group was not allowed to go clear. After a valiant effort, Onley made it to the front of the race, but lost contact with Healy near the top of Passo della Crocetta, with the ever-reducing peloton chasing them down. From then, Onley rode his own pace.

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After charging down the descent, the thinned peloton with a strong-looking Romain Bardet headed to the last climb of the day. Attacks came directly as the group arrived at the foot of the Passo di Ganda, with a strong group going clear and Bardet chasing them on a short distance. Going down the final climb, the Frenchman made it into a solid group, starting a fantastic chase on the last thirty kilometres. Despite not being able to make real contact with the leaders, Bardet’s group managed to close. Pushing it all the way to the line, Bardet finished just outside the top ten, ending his 2023 season with Team dsm-firmenich in a positive way.

After the race, Bardet commented: “As expected, the last Monument of the season was a super tough race. We can be proud of how we raced today, as everyone committed to our goal. Oscar was really strong when he opened up the race and the guys did a super good job around me all day long and I gave my best on the last climb. Eventually, ten other riders were just stronger today. So it’s positive to finish the season like this.”

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