Thibaut Pinot has had a marvellous season and it’s fitting that it’s been capped off by the Frenchman’s first Monument win with Lombardia. In great late season form, he took his second Italian win this week by cracking Vincenzo Nibali on Civiglio, the penultimate climb of the race, to take a beautiful solo win. Nibali held on for second with Dylan Teuns putting in a solid performance to round out the podium.
Rider of the Race
Oh, the goats were gambolling as Thibaut Pinot bunnyhopped his way through the final descents to pick up the first French Il Lombardia win in 21 years.
Pinot had the legs and the tactics today. Alert to a blistering attack on the crazy-steep Sormano by Primoz Roglic, the FDJ rider went with defending Lombardia champion Vincenzo Nibali to bridge to the NLJumbo rider. The trio steadily worked together to create a gap that widened on their high-speed descent. While His Nibs and Roglic are known for their descending skills, the fact that Pinot – who a few years ago looked terrified on any descent – stayed with them. He might not be as fluid as the other two, but he had the guts and the ambition to stick with them. In another bravado display of descending, Sky’s Egan Bernal dropped down to them like a stone from the chasing peloton and all four worked together to get to the next climb without ever being in danger of getting caught by the remnants of the peloton.
Dropping Roglic and Bernal on slopes of the next climb, Pinot watched Nibs like a hawk and put in attack after attack. Once he saw weakness in the Italian, he took his chance near the top of the Civiglio and was never seen again – riding the final 14km to the line solo. The fact that the chasing group were doing anything but for much of the time meant that the French rider only had to keep his rhythm and stay on his bike to take his very first Monument by over 30sec. Nibali fell back into a much smaller chasing group who had got their act together too little too late with an attack from Rigoberto Uran that brought out the likes of Dan Martin and Dylan Teuns. Nibs took some shelter, saved up a little energy and then sped off in the closing kilometres to take a well-deserved second place. Teuns won a mini-sprint to the line for third.
Giovanna Nibali won the podium style prize with those fabulous sunnies! Her dad gave her the boutique of flowers and steered her backstage just before the podium prosecco spray.
Bernal in flightEmbed from Getty Images
It’s always good to see a rider like Nibali come back from a bad crash – and so it was with Sky’s Egan Bernal after his terrible crash in Clasica San Sebastian only two months ago. The crash itself looked like a cycling fan’s worst nightmare and the Colombian had to have extensive surgery on his nose, mouth and a lot of dental work. There was also a scare in that he had a small bleed on his brain from the crash. Therefore, seeing him in full flight down the descent today to catch the lead trio was heartening if not a bit queasy.
Last race for the Tweetmobile
As usual, Lombardia is the last race of the season for the VeloVoices crew. It’s been a fantastic season – with surprise after surprise – and it’s been a lot of fun being in the Tweetmobile for the big races. Thanks to everyone who has tweeted us and brought witty repartee to our timeline during the season. Of course, we’ll be back in November/December with VeloVoices Awards, gift guides galore and end of the season wrap-ups. And we’ll be on Twitter in a nonchalant way throughout. We will, of course, spring into action if there are any big breaking stories between now and the start of 2019 season.
1 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) 5:53:22
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +0:32
3 Dylan Teuns (BMC) +0:43
4 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) same time
5 Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) s/t
6 Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) s/t
7 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe) s/t
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) s/t
9 Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) +0:48
10 George Bennett (Lotto NL-Jumbo) +1.22
Header image: ©GETTY/Velo/Tim de Waele