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Il Lombardia 2021: All you need to know including TV guide, favourites and route

Emma Cole
4 Oct 2021

A complete guide to everything you need to know about Il Lombardia 2021, taking place on Saturday 9th October

The 2021 edition of Il Lombardia will take place on Saturday 9th October over a new hilly route from Como to Bergamo which avoids the legendary Muro di Sormano climb but still includes 4,500m of climbing.

The last of the 5 Monuments of Cycling of the year, the ‘race of the falling leaves’ is one of the hardest one-day classics of the season and riders will face six climbs over 239km.

The result will decide the overall winner of the individual, team and national UCI WorldTour rankings.

The 2021 Il Lombardia route will start in Como and for the first time since 2016 it will finish with a speedy descent into Bergamo.

Usually a race reserved for punchy climbers, recent winners have included Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and defending champion Jakob Fuglsang (Astana-Premier Tech).

A stacked start list will descend on Como this Saturday and those provisionally confirmed include Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates).

Last year’s winner Fuglsang will not defend his title as he is out of action after sustaining a fractured collarbone in the Benelux Tour last month.

After the Covid pandemic forced last year’s race to move to August in the blazing Italian summer heat, this year's riders will be looking to capitalise on the cooler temperatures.

There is no women’s edition of Il Lombardia.

Below, Cyclist has compiled a guide of all you need to know about the 115th edition of Il Lombardia.

Il Lombardia 2021: Key information

Date: Saturday 9th October
Start: Como
Finish: Bergamo
Distance: 239km
Climbs: Six

Il Lombardia 2021 route

The route of Il Lombardia is much more fluid than its four Monument siblings, swapping its start and finish towns on a regular basis.

When the race first appeared in 1905, it took the form of a loop to and from Milan. From the 1960s until the early 2000s, the race would then start or finish in Milan with the opposing venue being another location within the Lombardia region. Between 2004 and 2006, the race even started in the Swiss town of Mendrisio.

Since 2014, however, the race has settled on the beautiful cities of Bergamo and Como.

Il Lombardia is renowned for the two legendary climbs: the Madonna del Ghisallo and Muro di Sormano, however the 2021 edition avoids the steep Muro di Sormano climb as well as the difficult descent which saw Remco Evenepoel crash into a ravine last year.

The route starts on the shores of Lake Como and heads towards the notorious Madonna del Ghisallo climb. The Ghisallo is not particularly difficult, climbing for 10.2km away from Lake Como at 5.2%, but is immortalised for the Church of 'Madonna del Ghisallo' (the patron saint of cycling) that stands at its summit. Inside the church is a shrine dedicated to cycling, a small museum of artefacts and an eternal flame burning for all cyclists who have died.

Riders will approach the 9.4km Roncola climb after 100km with an early section at 17 percent after which the climb up Berbenno begins, and Dossena rises up around the 160km mark.

The route continues to climb to the 1,257-metre high Zambla Alta and then riders must contend with a steep descent followed by another climb in the form of Passo di Ganda.

With the final steep climb of Colle Aperto, the 2021 l Lombardia finishes with a fast descent down into Bergamo, and will draw the curtain on the UCI WorldTour season.

Il Lombardia 2021: Live TV guide and how to watch

Like all cycling, Il Lombardia will be broadcast on Eurosport 1 this weekend and coverage starts at 10h15 until 17h00.

The race starts at 10h30.

Eurosport is available on most digital packages like Sky and Virgin or can be bought separately and viewed online. Subscribe for £6.99 per month or choose the annual package of £59.99.

You can also access Eurosport Player for £6.99 per month if you subscribe to Amazon Prime for £7.99 per month. This is more money but gets you an Amazon Prime account too, should that appeal.

Alternatively, you can download the GCN Race Pass that will have extended broadcasting of the race, costing £39.99 per year or choose the flexible plan for £6.99 per month. You can only watch via the GCN Race Pass on a phone or tablet, currently, but there are no ads.

Il Lombardia 2021: The favourites

Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo)

Never count out Vincenzo Nibali, a real racer, he can make something from nothing regardless of form or expectation.

Two-time winner of Lombardia, Nibali knows these roads better than anyone and can descend them like no one else.

He also won il Giro di Sicilia last week, his first stage win for more than two years.

Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

The young rider has made a full recovery from a fractured pelvis after losing his balance on the descent of the Muro di Sormano, hitting a stone wall of a bridge and falling into the ravine below in last year’s race.

His winter and early 2021 season was disrupted by his injuries but reports say he is ready to return to Il Lombardia to make new memories and is one to watch.

Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)

The ski jumper-turned-cyclist is a fiend at rattling down steep descents which puts him as a prime candidate for the Il Lombardia crown.

His form this year saw him claim his third successive victory at the Vuelta a Espana whilst defending his crown.

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

Pogačar has had a flying season, winning the Tour de France for the second time.

He is also reportedly the highest earner in men’s cycling, sitting on a six-figure salary after signing a new contract with his current team. Will the big bucks convert to a victorious season finale?

Il Lombardia: Previous winners

2020 - Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Astana-Premier Tech
2019 - Bauke Mollema (NED) Trek-Segafredo
2018 - Thibaut Pinot (FRA) Groupama-FDJ
2017 - Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Bahrain-Merida
2016 - Esteban Chaves (COL) Orica-BikeExchange
2015 - Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Astana
2014 - Dan Martin (IRL) Garmin-Sharp
2013 - Joaquim Rodriquez (ESP) Team Katusha
2012 - Joaquim Rodriquez (ESP) Team Katusha
2011 - Oliver Zaugg (SUI) Leopard-Trek
2010 - Philippe Gilbert (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto

Most wins - Fausto Coppi (ITA), five
First winner - Giovanni Gerbi (ITA), 1905