Events

Cunego takes Lombardy, Evans the ProTour

While Damiano Cunego of Lampre-Fondital returned to his sensational best on Saturday to win a second Tour of Lombardy, three years after he took his first, Cadel Evans was left ruing what might have been. Predictor-Lotto’s remarkable Aussie crossed the line in sixth place, 10 seconds back, to end his season with overall victory in the 2007 UCI ProTour, but he felt he was good enough to have been sprinting for the day’s main prize alongside Cunego and runner-up Riccardo Ricco of Saunier Duval-Prodir. “I got something in my eye on the descent into Lecco [with 80km to go],” Evans told VeloNews

By John Wilcockson

Cunego easily beats Ricco to the line.

Cunego easily beats Ricco to the line.

Photo: Graham Watson

While Damiano Cunego of Lampre-Fondital returned to his sensational best on Saturday to win a second Tour of Lombardy, three years after he took his first, Cadel Evans was left ruing what might have been. Predictor-Lotto’s remarkable Aussie crossed the line in sixth place, 10 seconds back, to end his season with overall victory in the 2007 UCI ProTour, but he felt he was good enough to have been sprinting for the day’s main prize alongside Cunego and runner-up Riccardo Ricco of Saunier Duval-Prodir.

“I got something in my eye on the descent into Lecco [with 80km to go],” Evans told VeloNews right after the finish, “and I haven’t been able to see since. I kept getting dropped on every descent, and I couldn’t do a damn thing about it.”

Despite having to chase back after each of the finale’s tricky downhills, Evans was still one of the strongest on the subsequent climbs. But he wasn’t the only one who experienced bad luck on a day of strong winds and bright sunshine on the tough 242km Lombardy course that circles lake Como in northwest Italy.
FullResults

Evans takes the ProTour title to cap off an impressive season

Evans takes the ProTour title to cap off an impressive season

Photo: Graham Watson

Team CSC was at the front of the “bad luck” line — or was their bad luck due to bad riding? By rights, CSC team leader Fränk Schleck should have won the race because he and his teammates had the odds stacked in their favor.

On the day’s major climb, the 8.5km, 6.3-percent Madonna del Ghisallo, CSC’s Carlos Sastre, Andy Schleck (younger brother of Fränk) and Alexandr Kolobnev worked ferociously to see off two-time defending champion Paolo Bettini, and spring an 18-rider group clear of the rest of the 179 starters. The CSC boys kept up the aggression on the next and penultimate climb, the stair-step Civiglio, first with Karsten Kroon and then with the Schleck the elder.

By the Civiglio summit, with 15km to go, just Cunego, Riccò and Evans were left with Schleck, and it looked as though the race was all but over. But after Cunego made an insane descent to gain 10 seconds on Schleck and Riccò, while the semi-blind Evans lost a further 10 seconds — which helped Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Samuel Sanchez to bridge up with Discovery Channel’s Vladimir Gusev— the pace inevitably slowed. And another half-dozen (including Evans’s American teammate Chris Horner) caught up on the flat road leading the final climb.

Fränk Schleck ran into trouble in the run to the finish.

Photo: Graham Watson

The odds were still in CSC’s favor, but in the space of a few minutes Kroon crashed on the Civiglio descent, Fränk Schleck touched wheels with Gusev and fell, and Kolobnev derailed his chain. That left only Andy Scheck in the front group (he would place fourth); but CSC was still the highest placed team on the day, to easily clinch its third consecutive ProTour team championship.

But winning three in a row wasn’t in the cards for two-time defending champion Bettini. Although he overcame his one-minute Ghisallo deficit before the Civiglio climb, Quick Step’s world champion was soon dropped again — and he would finish the race in the final group, 12:49 back.

So Bettini found out the hard way why Italian legends Fausto Coppi and Alfredo Binda remain the only two men to have won three consecutive editions of the Tour of Lombardy in the event’s 103-year history. The reason for that slim success rate is because Lombardy is so hard to win: The six main climbs are more like mountains, the roads are narrow and constantly twisty, and today’s ProTour peloton is more competitive than ever — even nine months after the season opened last January.

Cunego won the race because he was not only very strong, but he was also very crafty. After he followed Riccò’s decisive attacks on the steep 3km climb to San Fermo della Battaglia, he did the minimum amount of work to keep the pair 10 seconds ahead on the 4km descent to the finish in Como.

Cunego played his cards right.

Cunego played his cards right.

Photo: Graham Watson

“In the final kilometer I stayed on Riccò’s wheel so I could anticipate any move from the riders behind and also be in position for the sprint,” Cunego said. He added that he knows Riccò is no slouch in a sprint, but he wasn’t taking any chances. “I launched it with 200 meters to go, and got a gap right away. After 240 kilometers it’s difficult for everybody”

Asked whether this victory was more memorable than his 2004 Lombardy win — he took that in a sprint over breakaway companions Michael Boogerd, Ivan Basso and Evans — Cunego said, “This was much more important. It’s my first big win since Lombardia three years ago, whereas in 2004 I’d already won 12 races that year, including the Giro d’Italia.”

At age 26, the blond Cunego looks set to take up his career where it was headed before he contracted mononucleosis in 2005. There’ll probably be another Lombardy in his destiny, and another Giro — most likely a first Tour de France. He’s that sort of rider. But then, only great champions can win the Tour of Lombardy.

Results
1. Damiano Cunego (I), Lampre-Fondital, at 5:52:48
2. Riccardo Ricco (I), Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 0:00
3. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:10
4. Andy Schleck (Lux), CSC, at 0:10
5. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner, at 0:10
6. Cadel Evans (Aus), Predictor-Lotto, at 0:10
7. Luca Mazzanti (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 0:10
8. Thomas Dekker (Nl), Rabobank, at 0:10
9. Giovanni Visconti (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, at 0:16
10. Christopher Horner (USA), Predictor-Lotto, at 0:16
FullResults

Photo Gallery

Results

Results
1. Damiano Cunego (I), Lampre-Fondital, at 5:52:48

2. Riccardo Ricco (I), Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 0:00

3. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:10

4. Andy Schleck (Lux), CSC, at 0:10

5. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner, at 0:10

6. Cadel Evans (Aus), Predictor-Lotto, at 0:10

7. Luca Mazzanti (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 0:10

8. Thomas Dekker (Nl), Rabobank, at 0:10

9. Giovanni Visconti (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, at 0:16

10. Christopher Horner (USA), Predictor-Lotto, at 0:16

11. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus), CSC, at 0:16

12. Igor Anton Hernandez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:19

13. Frank Schleck (Lux), CSC, at 0:25

14. Fabian Wegmann (Ger), Gerolsteiner, at 0:46

15. Robert Gesink (Nl), Rabobank, at 0:46

16. Niklas Axelsson (Swe), Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia, at 0:46

17. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol), Lampre-Fondital, at 1:12

18. Daniele Nardello (I), L.P.R., at 1:34

19. Filippo Pozzato (I), Liquigas, at 1:36

20. Oliver Zaugg (Swi), Gerolsteiner, at 1:36

21. Dario Cataldo (I), Liquigas, at 1:36

22. John Gadret (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 1:36

23. Hubert Schwab (Swi), Quick Step-Innergetic, at 1:36

24. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 1:36

25. Karsten Kroon (Nl), CSC, at 1:36

26. Maxime Monfort (B), Cofidis, at 1:48

27. Giairo Ermeti (I), Tenax, at 1:51

28. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro C.T., at 2:41

29. Pedro Arreitunandia Quintero (Sp), Barloworld, at 2:41

30. Domenico Pozzovivo (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 2:50

31. Manuele Mori (I), Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 3:39

32. Marco Marzano (I), Lampre-Fondital, at 4:12

33. Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Sp), Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 4:38

34. Vincenzo Nibali (I), Liquigas, at 4:51

35. Leonardo Moser (I), Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia, at 5:17

36. Alessandro Bertolini (I), Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia, at 5:17

37. Manuel Beltran Martinez (Sp), Liquigas, at 5:17

38. Alan Perez Lezaun (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 5:17

39. Josep Jufre Pou (Sp), Predictor-Lotto, at 7:38

40. Philip Deignan (Irl), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 8:13

41. Christophe Riblon (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 8:20

42. Vladimir Efimkin (Rus), Caisse d’Epargne, at 8:20

43. Pablo Lastras Garcia (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 8:20

44. Imanol Erviti (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 8:20

45. Hugo Sabido (Por), Barloworld, at 8:20

46. Gorazd Stangelj (Slo), Lampre-Fondital, at 8:20

47. Dionisio Galparsoro Martinez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 8:20

48. Tristan Valentin (F), Cofidis, at , at 8:20

49. Renaud Dion (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 8:20

50. Guido Trentin (I), Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 8:20

51. Chris Sörensen (Den), CSC, at 8:20

52. Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe), CSC, at 8:20

53. Sébastien Minard (F), Cofidis, at , at 8:20

54. Pavel Brutt (Rus), Tinkoff Credit Systems, at 8:20

55. Cristiano Salerno (I), Tenax, at 8:20

56. Vincent Jerome (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 8:20

57. Wim Vanhuffel (B), Predictor-Lotto, at 8:20

58. Koos Moerenhout (Nl), Rabobank, at 8:20

59. Micula De Matteis (I), Tenax, at 8:20

60. Cédric Vasseur (F), Quick Step-Innergetic, at 8:20

61. Alessandro Bertuola (I), Tenax, at 8:20

62. Leonardo Bertagnolli (I), Liquigas, at 8:20

63. Emanuele Sella (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 8:20

64. Gabriele Missaglia (I), Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia, at 8:20

65. Matthew Lloyd (Aus), Predictor-Lotto, at 8:20

66. Stefano Garzelli (I), Acqua & Sapone, at , at 8:20

67. Dario David Cioni (I), Predictor-Lotto, at 8:20

68. Marco Velo (I), Milram, at 12:31

69. Blaise Sonnery (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 12:31

70. Frédéric Guesdon (F), Française des Jeux, at 12:31

71. Jérémy Roy (F), Française des Jeux, at 12:31

72. Steffen Weigold (Ger), Tinkoff Credit Systems, at 12:31

73. Peter Wrolich (Aut), Gerolsteiner, at 12:31

74. Mirko Celestino (I), Milram, at 12:31

75. Daniele Colli (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 12:31

76. Alberto Ongarato (I), Milram, at 12:31

77. Andrea Masciarelli (I), Acqua & Sapone, at 12:31

78. Andriy Grivko (Ukr), Milram, at 12:31

79. Christophe Mengin (F), Française des Jeux, at 12:31

80. Francesco Gavazzi (I), Lampre-Fondital, at 12:31

81. Staf Scheirlinckx (B), Cofidis, at 12:31

82. Davide Vigano (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, at 12:31

83. Jure Golcer (Slo), Tenax, at 12:34

84. Gabriele Bosisio (I), Tenax, at 12:34

85. Carlo Scognamiglio (I), Milram, at 12:34

86. Leonardo Duque (Col), Cofidis, at 12:37

87. Felix Rafael Cardenas Ravalo (Col), Barloworld, at 12:37

88. Ronny Scholz (Ger), Gerolsteiner, at 12:37

89. Bernhard Kohl (Aut), Gerolsteiner, at 12:37

90. Marc De Maar (Nl), Rabobank, at 12:37

91. Theo Eltink (Nl), Rabobank, at 12:37

92. Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 12:37

93. Julien Loubet (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 12:37

94. Manuel Quinziato (I), Liquigas, at 12:37

95. Morris Possoni (I), Lampre-Fondital, at 12:37

96. Inaki Isasi Flores (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 12:37

97. Steven Cummings (Gbr), Discovery Channel Pro C.T., at 12:37

98. Riccardo Chiarini (I), L.P.R., at 12:37

99. Alessandro Vanotti (I), Liquigas, at 12:37

100. Alberto Losada Alguacil (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 12:37

101. Matteo Tosatto (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, at 12:49

102. Andrea Tonti (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, at 12:49

103. Paolo Bettini (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, at 12:49

104. Nicolas Roche (Irl), Credit Agricole, at 12:49

Did Not Finish

 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Sp), Quick Step-Innergetic

 Alexandr Arekeev (Rus), Acqua & Sapone

 Stefano Cavallari (I), Acqua & Sapone

 Massimo Codol (I), Acqua & Sapone

 Francesco Masciarelli (I), Acqua & Sapone

 Simone Masciarelli (I), Acqua & Sapone

 Andrea Rossi (I), Acqua & Sapone

 Rinaldo Nocentini (I), Ag2r Prevoyance

 Samuel Dumoulin (F), Ag2r Prevoyance

 Diego Caccia (I), Barloworld

 Gianpaolo Cheula (I), Barloworld

 Alexander Efimkin (Rus), Barloworld

 Paolo Longo Borghini (I), Barloworld

 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr), Barloworld

 Yohann Gene (F), Bouygues Telecom

 Alexandre Pichot (F), Bouygues Telecom

 Erki Pütsep (Est), Bouygues Telecom

 Matthieu Sprick (F), Bouygues Telecom

 Thomas Voeckler (F), Bouygues Telecom

 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne

 Mathieu Perget (F), Caisse d’Epargne

 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne

 Moises Aldape Chavez (Mex), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare

 Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Col), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare

 Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare

 Yann Huguet (F), Cofidis

 Damien Monier (F), Cofidis

 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz), Credit Agricole

 Jonathan Hivert (F), Credit Agricole

 Christophe Kern (F), Credit Agricole

 Jean Marc Marino (F), Credit Agricole

 Yannick Talabardon (F), Credit Agricole

 Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr), Discovery Channel Pro C.T.

 Pavel Padrnos (Cze), Discovery Channel Pro C.T.

 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu), Discovery Channel Pro C.T.

 Brian Bach Vandborg (Den), Discovery Channel Pro C.T.

 Unai Uribarri Artabe (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

 Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

 Arnaud Gerard (F), Française des Jeux

 Cyrille Monnerais (F), Française des Jeux

 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger), Gerolsteiner

 Tim Klinger (Ger), Gerolsteiner

 Alessandro Ballan (I), Lampre-Fondital

 Matteo Bono (I), Lampre-Fondital

 Matej Mugerli (Slo), Liquigas

 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (B), Predictor-Lotto

 Stefano Zanini (I), Predictor-Lotto

 Oscar Freire Gomez (Sp), Rabobank

 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col), Rabobank

 Pieter Weening (Nl), Rabobank

 Javier Mejias Leal (Sp), Saunier Duval-Prodir

 Angel Gomez Gomez (Sp), Saunier Duval-Prodir

 Jesus Del Nero (Sp), Saunier Duval-Prodir

 Santo Anza: (I), Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia

 Ivan Degasperi (I), Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia

 Philippe Schnyder (Swi), Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia

 Mattia Turri(I), Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia

 Carlos Sastre Candil (Sp), CSC

 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr), CSC

 Paolo Bailetti (I), L.P.R.

 Daniele Callegarin (I), L.P.R.

 Luca Celli (I), L.P.R.

 Raffaele Ferrara (I), L.P.R.

 Marco Marcato (I), L.P.R.

 Luca Solari (I), L.P.R.

 Sergio Ghisalberti (I), Milram

 Fabio Sabatini (I), Milram

 Marco Corsini (I), Tenax

 Daniele Pietropolli (I), Tenax

 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus), Tinkoff Credit Systems

 Evgeni Petrov (Rus), Tinkoff Credit Systems

 Anton Mindlin (Rus), Tinkoff Credit Systems

 Daniele Contrini (I), Tinkoff Credit Systems

 Ilya Chernetskiy (Rus), Tinkoff Credit Systems

 Elio Aggiano (I), Tinkoff Credit Systems