Giro di Lombardia 2014: preview

Revamped course awaits riders as Joaquim Rodriguez seeks out hat-trick of wins

A completely revamped route will greet riders at the final Monument of the season, with Il Lombardia rolling out of Como on Sunday (October 5).

Winner of the last two editions, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) is expected to head a strong startlist, while Vuelta a Espana winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will be battling to seize control of the world number one spot.

Joaquim Rodriguez celebrates his triumph at last year’s Giro di Lombardia, which ensured he topped the world rankings for the second consecutive year (pic: Sirotti)

Rodriguez’s two victories arrived courtesy of accelerations on the Villa Vergano, but this year’s race, rather than starting in Bergamo, will finish in the city and so the climb does not feature and neither does the ‘Wall of Sormano’.

Instead, the Madonna del Ghisallo climb features earlier in the race, while the Passo di Ganda also looks to be a pivotal ascent in whittling down the size of the bunch.

Billed by organisers as a ‘secondary world championship’, due to its proximity to last weekend’s Ponferrada showpiece, the race also tackles the Berbenno just 26 kilometres from the finish and the short climb to Bergamo Alta features inside the last five kilometres.

World champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) will race in the rainbow jersey for the first time, while the man he succeeded, Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), also features among the favourites.

So where, how, and by whom will the race be won? Read our in-depth preview of the following pages and add your own thoughts in the forum.

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