RCS Sport has unveiled the route for the 2020 edition of Il Lombardia, which will run from Bergamo to Como on August 15, a national holiday in Italy. The route is almost identical to last year's race, retaining the Madonna del Ghisallo, Colma di Sormano, Civiglio and San Fermo della Battaglia climbs.
Usually one of the final races of the season, this year Il Lombardia will be held two months earlier than its usual October date.
The race's 114th edition will be only the fifth WorldTour event held after racing restarts in late July, following Strade Bianche, Gran Trittico Lombardo, Milano-Torino, Milan-San Remo and Gran Piemonte in the Italian calendar.
The race, dedicated to two-time winer Felice Gimondi, who passed away last August, was presented on Wednesday in Bergamo, the city at the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy and one of the hardest-hit areas in the country.
"It will be a particularly poignant Il Lombardia as it happens on the day of Ferragosto [an Italian public holiday]," said RCS Sport cycling director Mauro Vegni.
"I believe this year's race can be a great opportunity for us, for the territories that host Il Lombardia and for all the fans. After this difficult period, we are convinced that helping riders back onto the roads is vitally important.
"We have decided to keep the route unchanged. Starting from Bergamo and arriving in Como has grown into a beautiful tradition that everyone appreciates. We will have great international athletes at the start and I am confident that this edition of Il Lombardia will be the occasion for a relaunch for cycling and beyond."
The route will tackle the early climbs of Colle Gallo and Colle Brianza before hitting the famed Madonna del Ghisallo after 178.9km of racing, quickly followed by the Colma di Sormano and the narrow and steep section at the top – the Muro di Sormano – where the slopes touch 27 a per cent gradient.
A 15km section of flat road follows the sharp descent off the Sormano before the riders will hit the Civiglio climb, where Bauke Mollema launched his winning attack last year. The final climb of San Fermo di Battaglia tops out just 5.4km from the finish line at the shore of Lake Como.
Mayor of Bergamo Giorgio Gori welcomed the race as a sign that some semblance of normal life can return to the region.
"Even in the crazy year of 2020, Il Lombardia returns to the streets of the city of Bergamo – a departure that's filled with symbolism after the Covid-19 emergency that befell our city," he said.
"Our city and our territory leave behind the painful events of last spring and re-launches themselves to the world for what they are – places of art, culture, charm and great sport, even more beautiful and stronger than before. Happy Il Lombardia to all."
Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) has confirmed that he will make his Il Lombardia debut this year, while Mathieu van der Poel's Alpecin-Fenix team have also received an invitation. Reigning champion Mollema is expected to join his Trek-Segafredo teammate, two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali on the startline, while Evenepoel's teammate Julian Alaphilippe and 2018 winner Thibaut Pinot will also be racing.