Il Grillo gives it some stick in 06. Photo: actionplus sports images[/caption]
Lombardia is a beautiful race. Taking in the majestic shoreline of Lake Como and climbing past the shrine to the Madonna del Ghisallo, its stunning Italian-ness bookends the Monuments along with Milan-San Remo which started them way back in March. And it’s a coming out party, a debutantes ball for the newly crowned World Champion.
Not since Paolo Bettini in 2006 has the rainbow jersey won here, but even if the bands don’t always take the win they are usually well represented at the business end of the race. Cuddles tried out his new found attacking style in 2009 by setting up Gilbert for the first of his two wins, and now the Belgian has the perfect opportunity to show off his new kit and add a third. The betting might not be on if Gilbert wins, but how, and whether he chooses to don black shorts or goes for the full Cipo-style whiteout. Let’s hope common sense and good taste prevail, especially after Cav did such a stellar job of Looking Fantastic over the last twelve months.
The VSP overall race is also at a critical point, and could be decided this weekend. San Tonio has a nice little 13 point buffer and probably only needs to pick up minimum points, while the chasing pack may need to think outside the square and hope a roughie can deliver a la Zaugg last year. You could throw a blanket over 2nd, 3rd and 4th, so close are they to each other, with Gianni not far back tasked with upholding the Keepers’ honor and hoping for a late surge into the top 5 or even the podium.
Check out the start list, take some chances or play it safe, keep an eye on the timer and get your picks in for a chance to wear the Lombardia badge for the next year. Good Luck!
Here’s PhilGil’s last win in 2010, in some nice Rule #9 conditions…