Giro di Lombardia 2014: preview

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

It is not often Alberto Contador is considered among the contenders for a one-day race and, indeed, Il Lombardia is just his second one-day outing of the season after Wednesday’s Milano-Torino.

But the current world number one is desperate to finish the year atop the WorldTour rankings and showed he is still in good form after his Vuelta win with a strong ride into Turin.

Alberto Contador returned to the top of the world rankings after his Vuelta a Espana win and will ride Il Lombardia with the intention of staying there (pic: Sirotti)

Contador was sixth on the day and will now battle to, at the very least, limit his losses to Alejandro Valverde with the battle to be crowned world number one likely to go to the season-ending Tour of Beijing.

Former champion Oliver Zaugg is set to forego any personal ambition to ride in support of Contador, while Michael Rogers, Jesus Hernandez and Sergio Paulinho are also packed into a strong eight-man line-up.

Last year, Contador registered a DNF despite some strong efforts on the front from his team-mates – Rafal Majka instead taking up the mantle to finish third.

But Contador has repeatedly defied the odds this season, not least with his stunning Vuelta a Espana win after coming back from a broken leg.

Perhaps his season has at least one more dramatic twist remaining.

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