Zaugg takes Lombardia glory

Sat, 15 Oct 16:30:00 2011

Oliver Zaugg was the shock winner of the 105th Giro di Lombardia, the last 'Monument' of the 2011 European cycling calendar.

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The Leopard Trek rider attacked on the final climb to Villa Vergano with 10 kilometres remaining and held off a five-man chase group to win by eight seconds from Ireland's Dan Martin with Joaquin Rodriquez third.

It was a first professional victory for the 30-year-old Swiss whose name is added to a roll call of past winners that includes Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault.

A six-man break featuring Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo), Omar Bertazzo (Androni Giocattoli), Andrea Pasqualon (Colnago-CSF Inox), Claudio Corioni (Acqua & Sapone), Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) escaped ahead of the first climb, the Valcava.

They built up an advantage of four minutes over the peloton as they crossed the second of the five climbs, the Colle Brianza, on the 241km route from Milan to Lecco.

Astarloza and Van Summeren pulled away from their fellow escapees on the climb of the Colma di Sormano but the lead had been whittled down to a minute with 80km remaining.

They were caught soon after and Vincenzo Nibali then went for a sole bid for victory on the penultimate climb of the day, the Madonna del Ghisallo, and held a 1:24 lead at the summit 45km from the finish.

But he was caught 16km from the finish, shortly before the decisive climb of the Villa Vergano where Zaugg burst clear of a select group as the ascent ramped up to 11.7% in the final kilometre.

Domenico Pozzovivo, Ivan Basso, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Martin and Rodriguez gave chase on the 6km descent and they closed rapidly on the flat 3km run-in to the finish they could not deny Zaugg a famous victory in the classic of the falling leaves.

Philippe Gilbert was distanced on the Villa Vergano and was unable to become the first post-war man to win the race three times in a row as he finished in the third group on the road.

But the Belgian can be content with finishing the year on top of the UCI WorldTour rankings.

Giro di Lombardia : Last m

Lee Walker - Follow me on Twitter @leewalk498 / Eurosport

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