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After the start in Bergamo, the world top all around riders will dance through the Italian lake district on the Swiss border, facing off for what is symbolically the last great prize of the season on Sunday, October 6. And they will do so on one of cycling most historic stages.
For Spaniards Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde and Italian Vincenzo Nibali, the race offers a chance to atone for allowing Rui Costa to take the tape at Worlds. The three riders were in contention to win cycling's coveted rainbow jersey, but Nibali crash, combined with confusing tactics by the Spaniards, allowed Costa to become Portugal's first world road champion, outsprinting Rodriguez at the line. "We had the legs to win and were staring victory in the face, but even though Alejandro and I were the strongest we still failed to win."
Italian Vicenzo Nibali will also come to Lombardy looking to improve on his Worlds road race result. The mild mannered Sicilian deserved better than a fourth place finish last Sunday after battling back into contention following a late crash. Leading his Astana team this week, he is expected to be among the contenders, along with Belgium Gilbert and a host of others.
One rider who will be feeling no pressure, however, will be Rui Costa, who will be showing off his new rainbow jersey in a race the first time. Fresh off of his Nike Jacket Hoodie For Girls
Lombardy's prize may not replace the rainbow stripes associated with the world champion, but it could help Rodriguez, and others, get over last week's disappointment.
2013 Tour of Lombardy Preview
But no matter the weather, fair or foul, the Tour of Lombardy is considered a cycling Monument, one of the five greatest one day races in the world, a Classic. And that one title it always lives up to.
Called Race of the Falling Leaves, sometimes the Tour of Lombardy is just that, a beautiful bike race held in picturesque northern Italy under autumn skies. But just as often, it seems, the race can be engulfed in Dantesque thunderstorms situation the 2013 World Championships faced last Sunday in nearby Florence transform the event into a grueling struggle for simple survival. Nike Long Sleeve Maroon
greatest victory to date, the 26 year old will be under no pressure to attack and simply follow his competition. He might even have time to take in the scenery or actually hear the bells of Our Lady of Ghisallo ringing in honor of cyclists like himself.
The 242km race covers five major climbs, some of which are formidably steep, while racing on narrow, twisting roads before ending on a 120m long home straight.
Rodriguez will have extra motivation: A victory, or even second place, could catapult Nike Red Sweatshirt Women's
For many that rode in crash filled World Championships just one week earlier, Lombardy offers a chance for redemption. This year at least three of the world's top riders will have victory on their minds on Sunday.
Last year Rodriguez became Spain's first Lombardy champion and despite being closely marked again this year, he will start as a heavy prerace favorite.
But the Spaniard, currently with Nike Jogger Suit Men an 80 point deficit on the Tour de France champion, seems more intent on erasing the disappointment left after Worlds. "Even if I didn't win the World Tour, victory in Lombardy would help get rid of this nasty taste," Rodriguez added.
him into the lead of the WorldTour series if Chris Froome, the current leader, fails to place.
Racers revere the race many grueling, steep climbs that soar from the edges of the Italian lakes. For fans, the key moment comes when the riders crest the Ghisallo climb under the shadows of the Our Lady of Ghisallo chapel, which has dedicated itself to the cyclists. Bikes and jerseys adorn the interior and bells ring as the cyclists pass, in an area where popes Jean Paul II and Benedict XVI were members of the local cycling club.
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