La Classica Delle Foglie Morte
by Old Bone Machine
The Giro di Lombardia, the classic of the falling leaves, saw rain, riders and motorbikes fall rather than autumnal leaves.
Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodriguez (Katusha) triumphed in the difficult conditions. He crossed the finish alone after a successful escape on the final climb. Only a line of motorcycle headlights accompanying him in the gloom. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Rigoberto Uran (Sky) arriving nine seconds behind Purito.
The win had special significance as it was the first by a Spanish rider at Il Lombardia. It was also finally a victory for Purito who this year placed second in the Giro and third at the Vuelta. There was both joy and relief in the triumph.
“I was fighting for a double goal today, to win this prestigious competition and to take the lead in the UCI World Tour Ranking, and I managed both. So I’m really happy.”
Despite the rain and conditions, the Muro di Sormano, was walled with cheering spectators. The Sormano, more a path than a road, is a little under 2kms in length but climbs 300 metres with an average gradient greater than 15%. It made for exciting racing. Spectators and history it seems make a race unique and special, something the UCI and the Tour of Beijing organisers fail to focus on and amend.
On the descent of the Sormano the recently crowned road world champion Philippe Gilbert, crashed and abandoned the race. With no live footage from the media motorbikes allowed on the descent (for safety reasons) the fate of Gilbert was only realised later when he was spotted sitting in a BMC team support car.
Philippe Gilbert later providing evidence of his fall. The rainbow jersey looking like a bloodied surrender flag.
Il Lombardia, marks the end of the 2012 European season. It also, sadly, marks the last of my late night viewing sessions. Of live streams in Italian, Flemish and Spanish, twitter feeds and coffee.
Bring on season 2013 !!!