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Editors’ Picks: Il Lombardia

VeloNews editors name their favorites for the final WorldTour race of the season, the Il Lombardia monument.

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Here are our rapid-fire predictions for Saturday’s Il Lombardia, the final WorldTour race of the year.

John Bradley, editor in chief
Pick: Esteban Chaves

Chaves likes racing in Italy, where he finished second in the Giro. He was also third at the Vuelta and won the Giro dell’Emilia last week. He has the skills and the form.

Spencer Powlison, news director
Pick: Romain Bardet

I liked how Bardet kept attacking to the end in Milano-Torino on Wednesday — he was right with that group of top favorites. Plus, he was second in Giro dell’Emilia the week prior. The young Frenchman is coming around, and his descending skills will help on Lombardia’s sinuous roads.

Fred Dreier, executive editor
Pick: Miguel Angel Lopez

Lopez is probably hyper-motivated to salvage the back half of the season after he crashed out of the Vuelta. As we saw at Milano-Torino, Lopez is climbing really well right now. I think he has the legs to stay with Chavito, and I think he’s faster in a sprint.

Chris Case, managing editor
Pick: Greg Van Avermaet

After defying logic to climb his way to Olympic gold, Greg can never again be discounted on hilly courses. Second in Quebec, first in Montreal, his late-season form is as good as it was this summer. A monument victory is next in line.

Caley Fretz, senior editor
Pick: Rigoberto Uran

Uran looked exceptionally comfortable at Milano-Torino this week, cruising into third behind his teammate Michael Woods. He’s motivated, fit, and his third at Lombardia in 2012 is proof that he likes the race.

Andrew Hood, European correspondent
Pick: Fabio Aru

Lombardia is always a tough one to call. My hunch tells me Fabio Aru will deliver the big Italian win to close out the season, with Diego Ulissi coming a close second.

Kristen Legan, associate editor
Pick: Esteban Chaves

He’s still looking strong after a long season of racing and Lombardia is extra hilly this year, which will suit the micro Columbian. Plus, who doesn’t want to root for Chaves and his entertaining Orica team?

Gregor Brown, reporter
Pick: Esteban Chaves

He has obviously come away from the Vuelta a España with great form. He powered clear from his rivals on the San Luca climb to win the Giro dell’Emilia last week. With that form, and considering the ride he had last year in Lombardia, he should win this year. If not, bet on Simon Yates.

Dane Cash, web editor and reporter
Pick: Dan Martin

Martin, the 2014 winner, would be among the favorites for Il Lombardia no matter what, but with defending champ Vincenzo Nibali skipping the race, Alejandro Valverde uncertain due to a reported illness, and Joaquim Rodriguez returning from semi-retirement, the Irishman has a particularly nice opportunity to nab a third career monument this weekend. On the one hand, he has shown strong form with several great results in big races this season; on the other, motivation should be pretty high, as he hasn’t actually won that much in 2016.