Giro di Lombardia 2014: preview

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

The monster 254 kilometre route is certainly not one for the feint-hearted, with the 108th edition of the ‘Classic of the Falling Leaves’ packing in 3,000 metres of climbing.

Six climbs feature in the final 120 kilometres, by which point the riders will have already taken on the Madonna del Ghisallo climb too.

The 2014 Giro di Lombardia route has been completely revamped (pic: RCS Sport)

The latter peaks after 58 kilometres, significantly earlier in the race than in recent editions, with the 8.5km climb’s average gradient of 6.2 per cent belying some of the brutal slopes on the way up.

Immediately after hitting the lower slopes of the climb, a 14 per cent ramp makes way for a punishing two-kilometre drag where the gradient barely drops below nine per cent.

A false flat then makes way for another fierce kick up to the famous chapel where last year Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) soloed to the top.

Fast, technical descents are then intertwined with the climbs of the Colle dei Pasta, Colle Gallo, Passo di Ganda and Bracca.

The Passo di Ganda will be familiar to Giro d’Italia fans, having featured on the 2011 route, and the 9.2km climb is likely to shred the peloton to size with slopes approaching 15 per cent in gradient towards the summit.

The penultimate climb, at Berbenno, meanwhile could well play host to a number of solo attacks as, while the 5.5km climb is much flatter than Ganda and Ghisallo, sections of up to ten per cent gradient will offer the perfect platform for the favourites to accelerate.

Thomas Voeckler rides past the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel last year. The climb is much earlier in the race this time out (pic: Sirotti)

Finally, a short steep climb to Bergamo Alta, where gradients peak at a maximum 12 per cent, could well see the race-winning move put in, as Rodriguez has done on the Villa Vergano in the last two years.

After the short, partially cobbled ascent – which boasts an average gradient of 7.9 per cent – peaks out, a rapid, technical descent into Bergamo concludes what is set to be another epic race.

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