12/10/19 - 7:35 PM
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Road race - Men
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Il Lombardia • Stage1
avant-match

LIVE
Road race - Men
Il Lombardia - 12 October 2019

Il Lombardia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 19:35 on 12 October 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Highlights 
 
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Absolutely incredible for Mollema. He's never won a monument and at 32 years old he may have doubted it would happen for him.

 

Valverde just outsprints Bernal for second.

 

It is an absolutely emphatic win for Bauke Mollema, coming home solo for the first monument of his career. He spreads his arms wide as he rolls over the line.

 

Flamme rouge for Mollema!

 

Bernal has caught Valverde with some thrilling descending. Will he blast by him or sit on?

 

23 seconds is the gap as Mollema comes into 2km of the finish.

3km 

Valverde has left it too late, surely?

 

This finale is not going to be good for the fingernails of anyone in the Netherlands.

 

We enter the final 5km and it's Valverde's turn to leap clear. The time gap has 'corrected' itself now to 23 seconds between Valverde and Mollema.

 

Finally we see something from Bernal. He has put in an excoriating attack that immediately puts the others in trouble. They are almost sprint-climbing this hill.

 

Valverde has dragged the group up to Roglic, while Mollema appears to be growing his advantage yet further.

 

Woods rode Valverde off his wheel earlier this week on his way to winning in Turin. Can he do it again now as he goes off in pursuit of Roglic and Mollema?

1.5km to the summit of this final climb.

 

Valverde and Gaudu lead the chase.

7km 

Mollema has 43 seconds on Roglic, with Valverde and co another ten seconds back.

 

Here goes Roglic. He's into full TT mode. He has immediately left behind the others on a big wide boulevard.

 

More chaos in the chasing group. How many times have we seen this?

 

It's extremely strung out now in the favourites group and Mollema is all over his bike. He's fighting so, so hard to keep out in front and still his gap increases. 35 seconds now.

Final 10km!

13km 

Mollema is hammering this descent and he has extended his lead to about half a minute. The favourites are hesitating – and the race could be disappearing up the road.

 

They're over the top. One more climb to come.

16km 

Mollema is going great guns here and Latour is practically wrestling the bike up these inclines. Incredible racing!

 

Latour just does not quit. He's wreaking havoc in the group of favourites by constantly attacking over and over.

Roglic sets off in the hunt for the Frenchman.

 

Six riders left now. With another trio just off the back wheel. Bernal is clinging on by his fingernails as his compatriot and team mate loses contact.

 

Lots of painface on display here. 22 seconds for Mollema.

 

Pierre Latour launches in pursuit of Mollema. Sosa goes with him.

 

Another stinging attack, this time from Bauke Mollema. The elite group are just looking at one another.

Could Bauke bag the biggest one-day win of his career, here?

 

Robert Power is last man standing for Mitchelton Scottin this leading group now.

 

Adam Yates and Davide Formolo are dropped after that acceleration, but Roglic is equal to it. So too are Woods, Enric Mas, Gaudu and Fuglsang.

 

Much has been made of the fact the old Spaniard has never won this race. He might be about to put that right!

 

And Alejandro Valverde has attacked! He's flying away from the other favourites.

 

Guadu kicks and goes clear! Hes followed by EF's Mike Woods. Nibali is languishing well off the back looking disconsolate.

 

Wellens meanwhile is caught, with just Buchmann off the front now. Roglic is lurking. He looks very strong indeed here.

20km 

Vicenzo Nibali is dropped. He had a very strange mini-crash a moment ago and then he's not been able to recover.

 

I may have done Kuss a disservice. There are now four Jumbo riders at the head of the peloton, including the young American.

 

30 seconds now for Wellens and Buchmann. They're still going well together. It gets serious in about a kilometre.

25km 

It's perfectly poised for fireworks on the Civiglio climb, with Roglic looking cool, calm and collected. Bernal, meanwhile, is feeling the heat...

 

That's the last we'll see of Kuss, I think. Now it's Robert Gesink's turn to take the reins.

 

A third group is battling hard to get back into contact with the Roglic / Valverde group. There are three AG2R riders at the front of it, including Larry Warbasse.

30km 

Sepp Kuss is up on the front of the peloton now, working for Primoz Roglic. Behind him is a rider from Movistar and in third wheel is – what looks to be – Jai Hindley of Sunweb.

 

The leading pair are working well together in a spontaneous two-up TT, while behind it's Jumbo-Visma being leaned upon to do the work to chase them back.

35km 

Tim Wellens has launched an impressive attack on this flat section, accompanied by Bora's Emmanuel Buchmann.

 

After this descent we have a section of flat road, before we take on the Civiglio. It should allow some dropped riders to get back in contact.

40km 

The Jumbo-Visma led peloton has caught the leading five. It's a very small peloton however.

 

Jakob Fuglsang is very much in the mix here for Astana. He's floating down this decent with aplomb.

45km 

Correction. That's Mollema not Ciccone in the mix at the front of the race.

 

A quintet at the front have about five seconds on the peloton, led by Ciccone.

 

Dan Martin, Adam Yates, Tiesj Benoot and Bauke Mollema have all been spotted up near the pointy end of this race now.

48km 

Riders all over the road. The key favourites are in the second group, including Valverde, Roglic and Bernal.

However, there are some genuine contenders up the road too, including the much-vaunted Mike Woods.

 

Skujins' heroic efforts are over now, he's just passed the summit, some way behind the leaders – who are hurtling down the serpentine descent.

 

The gap between these two groups is really still quite small as Ciccone of Trek Segafredo puts in the watts at the front of group 1.

 

David Gaudu has lit things up. He looks very strong, easily bridging over to the leading group.

 

When I'm 75 I hope I'm doing stuff like this...

 

Still a fair old way to the top, yet and the tifosi are packed deep at either side of this very narrow road.

51km 

Things are thinning out rapidly in the peloton. Sep Kuss has attacked for Jumbo-Visma who don't want to be left out of this.

 

Tao Geoghegan Hart has peeled off, while Rafal Majka is attacking. Mike Woods of EF Education First is chasing onto that move, in the company of Ivan Sosa.

The peloton must be wary here, this is a potentially race-winning group and they can already see Jungels & Skujins.

 

There's a sharp dip down before they start climbing the Muro di Sormano and the road gets much, much narrower. The average 14% painfest begins here.

 

Now Masnada, who looked very strong on the Barni, is sinking backwards as Jungels makes contact with Skujins. Can these two get something going together, or will Super Bob breeze on by?

 

What a statistic!

 

This is what those teams looking to take Roglic and Bernal out of contention will be hoping for. They want a chaotic race where the superior team strengths are somewhat neutralised.

This latest attack has ended Salvatore Puccio's time at the head of the peloton, with another Ineos domestique taking his place.

 

Here we go, the attacks begin to fly. Geschke of CCC goes clear from the peloton with Pierre Rolland in his wheel and Gianluca Brambilla close behind.

 

Jungels leaves Cavagna and Marcato in his dust and Benedetti is the next man in his crosshairs.

55km 

And this is great tactics from Deceuninck. Cavagna has rested up just a little bit and is now able to give Jungels a pull as they continue up the Muro di Sormano.

It's two minutes between the front of the race and the peloton, with Jungels somewhere in that gap.

 

Jungels is picking off riders from the break as he powers toward the front of the race.

60km 

The Madonna is over. It's time for the Muro. Masnada and Skujins are now together again, but will we see them splinter once more?

 

Looks like Mikel Landa has abandoned the race. He's off to Bahrain Merida next season, so that'll be the last we see of him in a Movistar shirt.

 

Giovanni Carboni escapes from the peloton and Bob Jungels is quick to follow him.

65km 

Masnada is still solo off the front, with a gap to the peloton of 2'30". Skujins has managed to settle things a little and he looks to be gaining ground again on Masnada.

Masnada probably doesn't fancy doing 75km solo, so he'll maybe let Skujins hop on and they can combine efforts.

 

Team Ineos take to the front of the peloton now. Their main man is Egan Bernal, who won the Gran Piemonte on Thursday. He's a hot favourite for the victory today and has backup from youngg climbing aces like Tao Geoghegan Hart and Ivan Sosa

 

And that looks to be curtains for Skujins. Masnada is distancing Cavagna too. How he'd dearly love to leave Androni for his new team CCC with a monument victory under his belt.

 

Skujins is lagging behind his two companions just by a few bike lengths. That's not great news for the Latvian at this early stage in the race.

70km 

The break has disintegrated almost completely and it's the real star names that have persevered. Skujins, Masnada and Cavagna are now a leading trio.

75km 

The peloton take up their cudgels and instantly make a dent in the break's gap as they hit the lower slopes of the Barni.

80km 

The gap has been about four minutes for most of the day. It has crept up and down a little bit, perhaps as the peloton plays a game of cat and mouse with the break – or perhaps vice versa?

85km

The break begins its descent to the shores of Lake Como where they'll grab a much-needed musette.

 

Giovanni Visconti is taking part in his 13th Il Lombardia today. Only Mauro Gianetti and the unbreakable Davide Rebellin have started more editions.

 

And sure enough, Petr Rikunov (Gazprom) has lost contact with the other seven leaders. I thought that might've come the other side of the feed zone, but there you go. The Russian rider just not feeling it today – and given the quality in the break with him, who can blame the guy?

90km 

The gap is out again to 4'30". Spirited stuff from the eight men in the lead, but they must be apprehensive about what's to come. I wonder if we'll see some skirmishing between them.

95km 

The race is climbing now before it will drop down, allowing the riders to take a feed as the course hugs the shores of Lake Como, before heading into three serious ascents; the Barni, the Madonna de Ghisallo and the Muro di Sormano.

105km 

We're close to the final 100km of this epic race and the stage is set beautifully for a dust-up in the hills around Lake Como. Get yourself in front of a HD screen because this race is one of the most beautiful of the year. Live pictures on Eurosport in half an hour.

 

Answers on a postcard!

 

After that descent the gap to the breakaway is less than four minutes. That has come down quickly, perhaps under the renewed chase effort of Movistar, who have come to the front to control things alongside Jumbo.

Perhaps Alejandro Valverde is feeling up for this today? Or maybe we'll see a bit of #FreeLanda action?

 

Interestingly, despite being one of the teams of the past two years and boasting perhaps the world's fastest sprinter in Dylan Groenewegen, the team we now know as Jumbo-Visma has not won a monument since 2010, back when they were known as Rabobank.

Typically, you'd rely on your fast, endurance men to deliver monuments – names like Gilbert, Sagan, van Avermaet – but in today's climbing-heavy course, the Dutch squad has a real opportunity to end those nine years of hurt.

Alongside leader Roglic will be Sepp Kuss, the dynamic American climber, as well as Robert Gesink, who missed the Giro earlier this year with a late injury and Steven Kruijswijk who podiumed the Tour de France earlier this year. Talk about firepower.

 

The Muro di Sormano is where today's race is expected to really kick into gear. The full climb is six kilometres, but there is a section at 14% that goes on for more than two kilometres. That is going to wreak havoc in the peloton and truly separate the wheat from the chaff.

The fearsome climb comes with 57km to go.

124km 

The break is on the descent from the Colle Brianza, while the peloton is just about to crest.

 

To put those stats in the tweet into context, I struggle to do 55kph on a downhill without wigging out. Skujins averaged it on a steadily uphill road for nearly nine minutes!

 

An amazing insight into the power it took for Toms Skujins to make the breakaway today. The Latvian rider is a real team player, often sacrificing his own chances for others – so he will be eager to make this opportunity stick today.

135km 

Colle Brianza is next on the menu. It's a tough test, but a mere anti-pasti for what must follow. 4.3km a 4.9%.

143km 

The break has 5'45" on the peloton, with Primoz Roglic' Jumbo-Visma team doing the the lion's share of the pulling. Last year Roglic used his team mates to set up a platform from which he could springboard into a long-range solo. Will he try the same move again, or will the fact he imploded quite emphatically in the closing part of the 2018 race make him think twice?

154km 

We're two hours and 88km into the race. The tension begins to build!

167km 

Long ways to go yet. The riders have a feed zone coming up in about 15km. The gap is creeping ever upwards. Nearly six minutes now.

 

And here is the always-compelling Cosmo Catalano from last year's Lombardia, where Thibaut Pinot managed to outgun the Shark or Messina to take his maiden monument win.

Video - How The Race Was Won 2018: Pinot breaks Nibali at Lombardia

05:07
191km 

First climb of the day has begun now and that should put a bit of a dent in the average speed. It's the six-kilometre Colle Gallo, which rises up from the town of Entratico at a gradient of 6.7%.

We'll see how the riders in the break are doing more clearly as they reach the top. It's far too early to think about going solo, but every rider there will have his eyes on the others in search of a weak link.

 

There are many names to get excited about in that group, from Fausto Masnada, who won that epic, rain-soaked stage of the Giro this year in San Giovanni Rotondo, to Remi Cavagna, who has been one of the breakout stars of 2019 with victories in the Tour of California and La Vuelta.

 

We are an hour into the racing in northern Italy and so far the riders have covered the ground at an average speed of 49kmh. There's certainly no sign of late-season malaise here!

There's a strong group of eight riders up the road, with a gap of five minutes.

Fausto Masnada (Androni-Sidermec), Davide Ballerini (Astana), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe), Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Petr Rikunov (Gazprom), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo) and Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates)

 

Good morning folks, and welcome to the Eurosport live blog for Il Lombardia, the final monument of the season, the Ride of the Falling Leaves.

I'm Tom Owen. You can reach me with questions, queries and personal sleights over on Twitter at @tomowencc.