2012 Giro di Lombardia Preview

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Tonight the northern Italian city of Bergamo will host the start of this year’s Giro di Lombardia which draws the 2012 European World Tour race season to a close. The Il Lombardia is known as a climbers’ classic and has the nickname “the classic of the dead falling leaves” (la classica delle foglie morte) and is the final of the Five Monuments.

The Wall of Sormano

The Giro di Lombardia welcomes back one of Italy’s famous ramps, the Muro di Sormano. Ashley & Jered Gruber previewed the climb in the video above (Jered says to go easy on them, it’s their first attempt at video!). The race originally used the Muro di Sormano from 1960 to 1962. It pulled it out the next year because too many cyclists were being pushed up the climb. In recent years, the Sormano community closed off the artery road to allow only passage for cyclists and pedestrians, and painted Lombardia’s story on the road:

“A non-climber has no alternative. He must arrive at the foot of the wall at least ten minutes ahead of the start so that if he walks, taking a quarter of an hour or more than those who do ride it, he will arrive with five or six minutes late and can still hope.” -Gino Bartali”

“I understand that the Ghisallo didn’t offer the guarantee of breaking the race up any more, but frankly he’s gone overboard in the opposite direction. This climb is simply beastly, impossible to get up.” -Ercole Baldini

The road covers 1920 metres, climbs 304 metres, averages 15.8% and is just wide enough to allow a Fiat Punto to pass. When Imerio Massignan crossed climbed first in 1960 and 1961, and Livio Trapè in 1962, the road featured gravel. Fifty years later, pros will encounter smooth asphalt and will be able to easily better the top time by Sormano king, Ercole Baldini: 9-24 minutes in 1962. With the weather forecast being wet, it will certainly be a challenge for the riders to even keep their tyres gripped to the road while standing on the pedals.


The Wall of Sormano is in the middle of the course and won't be a decisive moment of the race, but will surely split the back half of the peloton to pieces as the gradient rises to 25% in places. The final climb of Villa Vergano sits in the final 15km of the race, providing the ideal launchpad for an attack that often wins the race.

Who’s on form

The race appears to be one between Philippe Gilbert and Alberto Contador with other favorite Alejandro Valverde out with the flu. Gilbert has announced his intentions that he’ll be aiming to become only the 8th rider to win Lombardia wearing the rainbow jersey. Oliver Zaugg was last year’s unlikely winner after an attack with 8 kilometers to go, soloing on to victory. However, I’d predict he’d be an unlikely winner again after DNF’ing the World Championships last weekend, but who would have tipped him last year? Some other riders well suited to the course and who are going well are Joaquim Rodriguez, Rigoberto Uran, Vincenzo Nibali, Ivan Basso, Dan Martin, Simon Gerrans and of course Damiano Cunego who has won here three times.

2012 Giro di Lombardia startlist

1 Oliver Zaugg
2 Jan Bakelants
3 George Bennett
4 Ben Hermans
5 Chris Horner
6 Yaroslav Popovych
7 Thomas Rohregger
8 Haimar Zubeldia

AG2R La Mondiale
11 John Gadret
12 Romain Bardet
13 Guillaume Bonnafond
14 Julien Berard
15 Sylvain Georges
16 Matteo Montaguti
17 Rinaldo Nocentini
18 Jean-Christophe Peraud

Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela
21 Franco Pellizotti
22 Riccardo Chiarini
23 Jairus Ermeti
24 Fabio Felline
25 Carlos Ochoa
26 Emanuele Sella
27 Miguel Angel Rubiano
28 Jose Serpa

31 Thomas Damuseau
32 Yann Huguet
33 Matthieu Sprick
34 Johannes Frohlinger
35 Alexandre Geniez
36 Simon Geschke
37 Tom Dumoulin
38 Tobias Ludvigsson

Acqua & Sapone
41 Carlos Betancur
42 Maximum Codol
43 Danilo di Luca
44 Alessandro Donati
45 Paul Ciavatta
46 Andrea Masciarelli
47 Vladimir Miholjevic
48 Fabio Taborre

51 Janez Brajkovic
52 Francesco Gavazzi
53 Andriy Grivko
54 Alexandr Dyachenko
55 Fredrik Kessiakoff
56 Simone Ponzi
57 Paolo Tiralongo
58 Fabio Aru

61 Philippe Gilbert
62 Alessandro Ballan
63 Mathias Frank
64 Stephen Cummings
65 Steve Morabito
66 Mauro Santambrogio
67 Ivan Santaromita
68 Greg van Avermaet

Colnago-CSF Bardiani
71 Domenico Pozzovivo
72 Gianluca Brambilla
73 Christian the Stars
74 Enrico Battaglin
75 Andrea Pasqualon
76 Angelo Pagani
77 Stefano Locatelli
78 Sonny Colbrelli

81 Darwin Atapuma
82 Johan Chaves
83 Fabio Duarte
84 Luis Felipe Laverde
85 Dalivier Ospina
86 Jarlinson Pantano
87 Jeffry Romero
88 Michael Rodriguez

91 Samuel Sanchez
92 Igor Anton
93 Mikel Nieve
94 Mikel Landa
95 Miguel Minguez
96 Peio Bilbao
97 Gorka Verdugo
98 Ametz Txurruka

Farnese Vini-Selle Italia
101 Filippo Pozzato
102 Pier Paolo de Negri
103 Matthew Rabottini
104 Francesco Failli
105 Leonardo Giordani
106 Luca Mazzanti
107 Alessandro Proni
108 Alfredo Balloni

111 Sandy Casar
112 Pierrick Fedrigo
113 Cedric Pineau
114 Jeremy Roy
115 Thibaut Pinot
116 Arnold Jeannesson
117 Jussi Veikkanen
118 Arthur Vichot

121 Ryder Hesjedal
122 Nathan Haas
123 Alex Howes
124 Christophe Le Mevel
125 Daniel Martin
126 Peter Stetina
127 Andrew Talansky
128 Fabian Wegmann

131 Joaquin Rodriguez
132 Giampaolo Caruso
133 Vladimir Gusev
134 Alberto Losada
135 Daniel Moreno
136 Luca Paolini
137 Yuriy Trofimov
138 Alexandr Kolobnev

141 Damiano Cunego
142 Diego Ulissi
143 Winner Anacona
144 Matteo Bono
145 Przemyslaw Niemec
146 Marco Marzano
147 Manuele Mori
148 Matthew Lloyd

151 Ivan Basso
152 Eros Capecchi
153 Damiano Caruso
154 Moreno Moser
155 Vincenzo Nibali
156 Daniele Ratto
157 Cristiano Salerno
158 Cayetano Sarmiento

161 Gianni Meersman
162 Frederik Willems
163 Bart de Clercq
164 Tim Wellens
165 Gert Dockx
166 Joost van Leijen
167 Dennis Vanendert
168 Jelle Vanendert

171 Juan Jose Cobo
172 Sergio Pardilla
173 Marzio Bruseghin
174 Rui Faria da Costa
175 Jose Ivan Gutierrez
176 Pablo Lastras
177 Nairo Quintana
178 Giovanni Visconti

181 Michael Albasini
182 Fumiyuki Beppu
183 Simon Clarke
184 Simon Gerrans
185 Christian Meier
186 Sebastian Langeveld
187 Cameron Meyer
188 Pieter Weening

Omega Pharma-QuickStep
191 Dario Cataldo
192 Sylvain Chavanel
193 Dries Devenyns
194 Kevin de Weert
195 Michal Golas
196 Serge Pauwels
197 Kristof Vandewalle
198 Jerome Pineau

201 Bauke Mollema
202 Tom Slagter-Jelte
203 Laurens ten Dam
204 Juan Manuel Garate
205 Wilco Kelderman
206 Steven Kruijswijk
207 Paul Martens
208 Stef Clement

Team Sky
211 Rigoberto Uran
212 Sergio Henao
213 Lars-Petter Nordhaug
214 Danny Pate
215 Richie Porte
216 Salvatore Puccio
217 Thomas Lovkvist
218 Michael Barry

Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
221 Alberto Contador
222 Nicki Sorensen
223 Chris Anker Sorensen
224 Sergio Paulinho
225 Manuel Boaro
226 Rafal Majka
227 Bruno Pires
228 Matteo Tosatto

231 Paul Bailetti
232 Gabriele Bosisio
233 Stiven Fanelli
234 Edoardo Girardi
235 Gianluca Maggiore
236 Sergio Lagana
237 Federico Reels
238 Patxi Vila

241 Thomas de Gendt
242 Johnny Hoogerland
243 Bjorn Leukemans
244 Marco Marcato
245 Tomasz Marczynski
246 Stefan Denifl
247 Mirko Selvaggi
248 Rafael Valls