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Tour of Lombardy 2010 – Phil Gilbert Again!

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Gilbert was excellent today in the Tour of Lombardy 2010. Scarponi was very good and Nibali showed grinta; especially given that he rode and won at San Luis, Argentina way back in January.

Our pal Viktor reckons that the lead group were glad to let Lastras go to get third spot; it saved them the trouble of worrying about the sprint – maybe he’s right?

195 starters and 34 finishers says it all – cold, wet, mist, low cloud and a lot of guys keen to end their season.

We flew out on the Friday and spent the night in Bergamo – the ‘new’ town.

The old ‘Alta’ or ‘high town’ is lovely, perched on the hill top with narrow cobbled streets and beautiful old shops and bars – but we couldn’t get a room up there.

Tour of Lombardy 2010
Philippe Gilbert looked happy to be here. Photo©Ed Hood
Tour of Lombardy 2010
Ex. World Champ Ballan is all smiles. Photo©Ed Hood

Saturday dawned grey but the rain held off until Menaggio – we had hoped to see the race on the Intelvi, like we did last year but they beat us from Milano to Como where the race goes lakeside – long faces for us.

Tour of Lombardy 2010
The Start Line. Photo©Ed Hood

The start in Milan was cool though, mingling with the stars and catching up with old friends.

Tour of Lombardy 2010
Callum and Ernesto Colnago. Photo©Ed Hood

We got a nice shot of Callum with Ernesto Colnago, and a quick word with Adam Hansen – but most of our ‘regular’ guys were edgy and we left them in peace.

Tour of Lombardy 2010
One of Adam’s last races with HTC – he’ll be with Gilbert next year. Photo©Ed Hood

Menaggio is where the race drops back down from it’s excursion to Lake Lugano, after the climb of the Intelvi.

The Intelvi is too early to impact the race outcome but it’s where the early break usually goes – and there were six clear at the top of the drop into Menaggio.

Tour of Britain winner Albasini being best known; big Diego Caccia was there too – he was away for 202 kilometres in Milan – San Remo and 185 kilometres at Lombardy.

Tour of Lombardy 2010
Local Boy Diego Caccia. Photo©Ed Hood

He’s a hard working boy, but then his DS at ISD, Luca Scinto isn’t a man you would wish to disappoint.

The bunch was well back and whilst the main activity seemed to be wrestling with rain capes, Lotto were vigilant, there would be no panics at the end to nail fugitives, today.

Tour of Lombardy 2010
Six Lotto riders keep an eye on things for Philippe. Photo©Ed Hood

The rain began in ernest here and would continue all through the day.

As the race headed north to lap the eastern leg of Lago di Como, running all the way down to Lecco before heading north to the Ghisallo, we took to the waves – the ferry to Bellagio at the foot of the Ghisallo.

The Ghisallo lies at the tip of the peninsula which juts north to separate the eastern and western legs of the lake and which gives it the distinctive ‘star’ shape.

Visibility was dire; last year we could snap away, takin