Rider of the week
He’s only 30-years-old, but Vincenzo Nibali already can be regarded as a cycling legend, considering he’s won all three Grand Tours and the Giro di Lombardia, thus becoming only he fourth rider in history to do this feat, following Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. Going into the season’s final Monument with high ambitions and an excellent form, underlined by his recent victory in Tre Valli Varesine, just 24 hours after returning from the Richmond World Championships, the Italian champion was keen on doing everything he could to finally land a victory that has eluded him in the past seasons.
The overwhelming favourite at the start of the 109th Giro di Lombardia, Vincenzo Nibali made an excellent race, especially tactically, and ended his season on a high note, helped by an incredible team of Astana, with Mikel Landa and Diego Rosa ready to chase down every opponent and pull for him on the arduous climbs of a parcours which was dubbed by many as the toughest and the most thrilling in the history of the Classic.
Maybe Nibali wasn’t the best on the uphill, but he surely was by far the best descender in the group, making the most out of his skills once the Civiglio ascent was over, with 16 kilometers to go, and pushing himself to the limit on each hairpin. After giving it all on that terrain and extending his lead to more than 40 seconds, the Astana rider begin to lose some of this chunk on San Fermo della Battaglia, but his victory was still assured, as he entered the last three kilometers with a 15-second advantage over Daniel Moreno.
By winning the “Classic of the Falling Leaves” the way he did, Vincenzo Nibali – who took Italy’s first Monument victory in seven years – showed again his class, because even when on a day he wasn’t the strongest one out there, he was still capable of inventing something to surprise his opponents and take a Monumental triumph, which proved, once again, that he’s the most versatile Grand Tour cyclist of the current peloton.