Il Lombardia 2020 – Five talking points

Featured image courtesy of Tim de Weale/getty images

The 114th edition of Il Lombardia certainly provided drama, a race that usually takes place in October but this time in August. A historic day in Lombardy as Jakob Fuglsang takes the win as he prepares for the Giro d’Italia in October.

While we’re happy for Jakob Fuglsang and those who rode well, there is however a tinge of frustration, disappointment and concern in the following piece. One rider horrifically crashed into a wall falling off a bridge and another flew into a car! 

The five talking points below.

1 – Fuglsang goes into the record books

There’s something to smile about for Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang, a rider who’s in top form and preparing himself for the Giro. He now enters the history books as the first Danish rider to win Il Lombardia and joins an elite list alongside John Degenkolb, Alexander Kristoff, Dan Martin, Peter Sagan and Niki Terpstra to have won two career Monuments in the current peloton. 

35-years of age it is fair to say that Jakob Fuglsang is one of the greats. Two overall wins at the Dauphiné, last year’s winner at Liège–Bastogne–Liège and now another Monument to his name in Lombardy. The way he attacked on the Civiglio, rode alongside teammate Aleksandr Vlasov, held off a chasing Trek-Segafredo pair of Ciccone and Mollema as well as putting George Bennett in difficulty on the final climb – that was a legendary ride by the Dane.

Numerous stages have been won at Grand Tours and although he’s had some unlucky times at the Tour de France, Jakob Fuglsang has a terrific opportunity at the Giro this year. Could he possibly win it? Perhaps too early to say but you never know in cycling. 

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2 – George Bennett should be pleased with his second place

Jumbo-Visma are the form team in world cycling right now but sometimes you can’t win everything. In George Bennett, the team should be proud of how well he’s riding right now. After winning Gran Piedmonte in midweek, perhaps was one step too far today as he simply didn’t have the legs to keep up with Fuglsang on the final climb but nevertheless the Kiwi becomes the first man from his country to finish on the Il Lombardia podium.

In fact Jumbo-Visma in their current livery should be happy that Bennett’s second place is also the first time in a long while that they’ve come close to a podium place. Dutchman Michael Boogerd was the last man in 2004 to finish second when Jumbo-Visma were then known as Rabobank.

George Bennett looks set to ride the Tour de France next especially after Steven Kruijswijk suffered from a dislocated shoulder at the Dauphiné today. Bennett is in top form, he’s been a crucial domestique for the team at the Tour de l’Ain, a superb win at Gran Piedmonte and now second in Lombardy – he heads to the Tour full of confidence for sure.

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3 – Trek-Segafredo left frustrated?

Defending champion Bauke Mollema, Giro stage winner Giulio Ciccone and the ‘shark of Messina’ Vincenzo Nibali will look back on today’s race not so much as a disappointment but still some extra mileage into the legs. Nibali was dropped on the Civiglio but Mollema himself alongside Ciccone tried everything they could to claw back the three leading riders. 

Jakob Fuglsang, George Bennett and Aleksandr Vlasov could have so easily been caught if they started to look at each other but it just wasn’t to be for the Trek trio – Mollema and Ciccone even suffering from a mechanical in the finale.

Bauke Mollema should be heading to the Tour next to support Richie Porte, Giulio Ciccone could be doing the same and for Vincenzo Nibali, like Fuglsang, he’ll be heading off to October’s Giro.

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4 – Max Schachmann crashing into a car

Words cannot describe how awful it was to see Max Schachmann colliding with a car that should never have entered the road. We’ve seen so many accidents for riders in training so we don’t need it to happen on an actual race!

Young riders have died in accidents and big questions need to be asked of the race organisers RCS sport – how on earth did the car enter the road?

We’ve seen rider safety put into question after Fabio Jakobsen’s crash at the Tour de Pologne and now more questions of those in charge after Schachmann’s collision with a car that shouldn’t have been on the road.

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5 – Hoping and praying for Remco Evenepoel

Since the start of the year we’ve been saying how brilliant Remco Evenepoel has been. First overall at the Volta ao Algarve, the Vuelta San Juan, Vuelta a Burgos and an incredible solo attack to win the Tour de Pologne – what a fantastic young talent we have on our hands.

We know how dangerous cycling can be and unfortunately you never know what can happen on 231 km’s of road in Lombardy. Remco Evenepoel crashing on a descent by crashing into a wall and falling down a bridge – our hearts we’re in our mouths.

We certainly wish the young man a speedy recovery but why did RAI (the Italian host broadcaster) decide to show numerous replays of the crash and show us pictures of Evenepoel on the stretcher?

It’s never nice to see. We can see the crash once but we don’t need endless repeats of him crashing and falling off the bridge! 

A tough time for Deceuninck-Quick Step after Fabio Jakobsen suffering from a terrible crash in Poland last week and we also sincerely hope that Remco Evenepoel will return sooner rather than later. His Monument debut and sadly for all the wrong reasons he’ll never forget it.

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Don’t forget to check out our latest pieces on the Dauphiné as it reaches its conclusion. The Tour de France is also not far away too!

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