Il Lombardia: Hermans and Roche Finish in Top 157. October 2017, Como (ITA) — Road Team
The final Monument of the year, Il Lombardia, lived up to its reputation as the toughest one-day race of the year with a brutal showdown in the second half of the race which saw Nicholas Roche cross the line in 12th place and Ben Hermans in 14th place.
After 30km of racing, six riders formed the day’s breakaway and the peloton sat up to allow the group to extend an advantage of more than 12 minutes.
With the first two climbs done, the peloton started to pick up the chase and with 120km to go, the breakaway’s advantage was down to 5’30”.
One the slopes of the Madonna del Ghisallo, the breakaway started to split and it was Mikaël Cherel (AG2R La Mondiale) who led the race solo.
As the race reached the iconic Muro di Sormano, Alessandro De Marchi attacked from the bunch but was quickly brought back as the group slowly brought Cherel back.
Cherel continued to lead on the descent and run into Como for the first time, with multiple riders chasing behind and the bunch not too far back.
With 35km to go, De Marchi attacked again, this time with Philippe Gilbert (Quickstep-Floors), and the duo established a 20-second lead on the bunch and quickly closed in on Cherel.
Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team) attacked to join De Marchi’s group as the trio caught Cherel with 25km to go and assumed the lead of the race.
The reduced peloton brought the quartet back with 19km to go and from there it was attack after attack from the group of favorites.
Inside the final 15km, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team) launched the winning move and lead the race solo until the very end when he claimed victory in Como.
Behind, the chase was on for the remaining podium places with Hermans and Roche finishing in the third group.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was really easy in the beginning of the race. The weather was good and there were only two climbs and it only took 30km of racing for the breakaway form. Half the peloton was spending energy and the other half just following. So, the first 150km was not much load on the legs. Then after the Madonna del Ghisallo and the Muro di Sormano, you felt like you had a lot of load in the legs. Then the suffering started and it’s all about surviving.
On the Muro di Sormano, I was going pretty easy and was waiting for the acceleration. But, we only accelerated over the top so there was still a big group after the descent. I had good legs on the Civiglio and I think I crossed the top in the top ten. That’s when I was looking forward to hopefully ending in the top ten. I think it could have been possible. But, I wasn’t good enough to be in the front to go for second or third place. Nicolas Roche was just behind me and we both missed the move by about 100m. But, that’s racing.”
Maximilian Sciandri, Sports Director:
“It was a good result for us. I think Alessandro De Marchi waited a little bit instead of attacking earlier as planned. So, he attacked in a pretty hard moment. The advantage was there but there were teams chasing pretty hard behind. It all comes down to legs and condition. I think the guys did the best they could have in a 247km tough race at this point in the year.”
Bergamo > Como (247km)
Top 3: 1. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team), 3. Julian Alaphillipe (Quickstep-Floors), 3. Gianni Moscon (Team Sky).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 12. Nicolas Roche, 14. Ben Hermans, 46. Alessandro De Marchi.