15 Oct 2018

Second place for Nibali at Lombardia

With 15 kilometers to go things still looked good for Vincenzo Nibali to add il Lombardia as the last monument of the cycling season to his palmarès after already having won the first. But in the end, the captain of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM had to settle for 2nd. Grega Bole, on the other hand, won the climber’s classification at the Tour of Turkey.

Leading from Bergamo to Como and also known as the race of the falling leaves, il Lombardia is a race being held close to the end of the cycling season. One year ago Vincenzo Nibali had taken the start as the captain of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM and rode to an impressive solo victory in Como. This year the Sicilian was also one of the favourites for the win, and he could rely on the support of a strong team: Apart from the brothers Gorka and Ion Izagirre, the team fielded Domenico Pozzovivo, Matej Mohoric, Antonio Nibali and Franco Pellizotti. For the latter il Lombardia was a special race, as it was the last race of his equally long and illustrious career as a pro cyclist.

A group of attackers took charge of things during the early hours of the race, but some pre-race favourites made their moves early on the Muro di Sormano climb with more than 40 kilometers to go. When Primoz Roglic attacked, the riders of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM kept his advantage within ten seconds. On the last kilometer Vincenzo Nibali set up a counter-attack and Thibaut Pinot was the only rider who managed to stay in his wheel. The duo flew past Roglic before the summit of the Sormano climb, but Roglic and Egan Bernal managed to get back on their wheels on the following, twisting descent. On the rolling section that followed these four riders cooperated nicely while Domenico Pozzovivo and Franco Pellizotti made good use of their experience, slowing down the chasing group behind and keeping the advantage of the leaders at 40 seconds.

On the Civiglio ascent, Vincenzo Nibali and Thibaut Pinot again were the strongest climbers, getting rid of Primoz Roglic and Egan Bernal and cooperating at first to defend their gap to the chasers. In the chasing group, Domenico Pozzovivo and Ion Izagirre kept marking all attacks. While Nibali managed to neutralize the first two attacks from Pinot, the third acceleration was too much and he had to let the Frenchman get away with 500 meters to go on the climb. Things even seemed to get worse when the chasers caught Nibali on the Monte Olimpino climb. But the shark of Messina showed his racing instinct as soon as the road pointed downhill: With one last effort he accelerated away from the group and rode to 2nd place on his own. With Ion Izagirre in 6th and Domenico Pozzovivo in 8th, the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM also performed impressively as a team.

At the Tour of Turkey, the riders in red, blue and dark blue could not celebrate any podium results in the stages or the overall standings. Neither Ivan Garcia Cortina nor Heinrich Haussler found the necessary gaps to get on the podium in the bunch sprints, and Mark Padun ran out of steam at the Selçuk mountaintop finish with half a kilometer to go. In that very queen stage Grega Bole had been riding in the lead group for a long time, however, and this was the reason for the bright spot from the  perspective of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM: Thanks to an all-out effort of the team in the final stage, Bole won the stage race’s climber’s classification with a last-minute effort.

1. Thibaut Pinot, FRA, in 5:53.22 hours
3. Dylan Teuns, BEL, + 0.43