The autumn one-day race

That’s what I call it, because that’s how I think of it. Most one-day races are in the spring, but this one is an exception. Officially, it’s called the Giro di Lombardia or Il Lombardia. Unofficially, it’s known as the race of the falling leaves or summat like that. It’s the autumn one-day race.

The Giro di Lombardia is the final ‘monument’ of the season and also the last race which actually matters. It’s a tough, hilly, almost mountainous, one-day race with five proper climbs.

In order, they are:

  • Valico di Valcava – 11.8km at 8%
  • Colle Brianza – 4.2km at 6.9%
  • Muro di Sormano – 1.7km at 17%
  • Madonna del Ghisallo – 10.6km at 5.2%
  • Villa Vergano – 3.2km at 7.4%

Of those, the final three are of most interest, even if the first puts in a good bit of damage for the day.

The Muro di Sormano is of interest because it is stupidly steep and looks like this. It is official graffiti, consisting of quotes from famous riders.

The Madonna del Ghisallo also has a prominent place in cycling folklore and there’s a marvellous study of it over at Inrng. Apparently, Italian writer Gianni Brera once described it as “the poor man’s spaceship” which is the kind of thing you wish you’d come up with yourself.

Villa Vergano isn’t famous in the same way as the other two, but it’s important in terms of the race. It comes after 238km of the 251km distance and the final kilometre of it is 15%.

Who will win?

The cast of contenders is similar to that for the World Championships last week, except Chris Froome isn’t riding due to back knack and nor is Fabian Cancellara due to the amount of climbing involved.

Domenico Pozzovivo will be there though. He even has an outside chance. Wouldn’t that be a grand finish?

When is it?

Tomorrow when I’m writing this, probably today or yesterday when you’re reading it. Sunday 6th October if you want a straightforward answer.