Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour of Lombardy on Sunday after launching a daring attack 17.5km from the finish to triumph in the final cycling ‘monument’ of the season.
Nibali, 30, the 2014 Tour de France champion, held off late chasers to cross the line in Como, after a 245km ride from Bergamo, just over 20sec ahead of Spaniard Daniel Moreno with Frenchman Thibaut Pinot finishing a close third.
It was a happy ending to the season for Nibali, who hit a low point during Spain’s Vuelta when he ws thrown out for holding on to a team car during a stage.
And he duly acknowledged a debt to Astana team-mates Mikel Landa and Diego Rosa, who worked hard to reel in Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski and Belgium’s Tim Wellens, who made the first breakaway 50km out and were back on terms by the Civiglio climb 20km from home.
“The team worked really well,” Nibali said. “I tried to go clear on the Civiglio climb, but it was hard, but I got away going downhill and I was able to finish the good work the whole team put in.”
Fourth place went to Spain’s Alejandro Valverde, with the hard-working Rosa taking fifth as reward for his tireless efforts throughout the race.
Surprisingly, Nibali’s victory was the first by an Italian in a major classic since 2008, when Damiano Cunego won this same race.