Photo gallery: Il Lombardia 2018, the neglected Monument

by Matt de Neef

If the Vuelta a España is the neglected Grand Tour, then Il Lombardia is the neglected Monument. Held after the World Championships, half a year after the other four Monuments, Il Lombardia attracts far less attention than any other race of its ilk. In a way it makes sense — by now, the season is effectively done. All the other important races are in the books and many riders have begun the off-season (or are racing as if they have).

But just as La Vuelta’s relative lack of popularity belies its often-enjoyable and unpredictable nature, so too Il Lombardia is frequently overlooked.

This past weekend we saw Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) cap his best season to date, riding away from defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) after repeated attempts to drop the two-time winner. Pinot, a man so aptly described by CyclingTips’ Neal Rogers as “pro cycling’s most mortal star”, was at his aggressive, tenacious best in snagging his first Monument victory and adding to an impressive run of victories in recent months.

The fact Nibali finished second is significant, too. Only now is the Sicilian coming back to form after the unfortunate crash that ended his Tour de France. His fight in the closing kilometres of Saturday’s race, attacking clear of a chase group that had reeled him in, was among the race’s most engaging moments.

And on the subject of returns to form, Egan Bernal (Sky) is back after his horrible crash at San Sebastian. He was in the elite selection of four with Pinot, Nibali and Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) in the closing kilometres and finished a more-than-respectable 12th. To say there are big things ahead for Bernal seems beyond obvious at this point.

In short, Il Lombardia mightn’t command attention or headlines like its earlier-season siblings, but it really should. Thankfully Kristof Ramon was there to capture all the action. Scroll on down for a selection of his images from the 112th edition of “The Race of the Falling Leaves.”

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