Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) becomes the first colombian winner of a cycling monument . He becomes the first non-European rider to win the race.
In its 110th edition, the Classic of the Falling Leaves was won by Esteban Chaves (Orica – Bikexchange) almost one year after he opened the record book of the Abu Dhabi Tour. With a second place at the Giro d’Italia and third at the Vuelta a España, victory at Il Lombardia has rounded out an excellent 2016 season for the Colombian; Chaves clinched victory when he out-sprinted Diego Rosa (Astana Pro Team) and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale – Drapac Pro Cycling Team) in Bergamo to become the first non-European winner of Il Lombardia and the first Colombian winner of a cycling Monument. Tour de France runner up Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) accompanied them till the last climb. All the key favourites were up there in the gruelling finale.
1 – Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) – 241km in 6h26’36” average speed 37.403km/h
2 – Diego Rosa (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
3 – Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team) s.t
Esteban Chaves said in the press conference: “Today is a dream come true. I started my pro career here in Lombardy, staying at Curno, very near Bergamo. Claudio Corti, who was the manager of Team Colombia, gave me the love for Italian cycling. It’s a big thing for me to become the first non-European to win Il Lombardia and the first Colombian to win a monument. In the last kilometre I was scared to not win, but had I come second or third I knew I had done my best anyway. I’m a Grand Tour specialist and I’ve had a 2016 season in which I reached the goals I had at the beginning of the year, but if there’s a one-day race that has a special place in my heart and it’s this one”.
Second placed Diego Rosa said in the mixed zone: “I believed a lot that I’d win today. I knew [Esteban] Chaves was faster than me. Last year [Alejandro] Valverde beat me in the sprint for fourth place and I didn’t want this to happen again. I tried to ride them off with 300 metres to go but Uran closed the gap. I crashed two years ago at the last turn so maybe I used the brakes too much this time, otherwise I might have won. After 60km of racing, Fabio [Aru] told me to do my own race. This was my last race with Astana but I’ll try again to win Il Lombardia in the future”.
Rigoberto Uran said minutes after the finish: “I made a little mistake in the downhill and I paid for it. At the end, things went pretty well: I’m on the podium. We arrived for a sprint and the fastest won. Esteban had the best legs of all of us in the front group. I was going well too but all day I was struggling a bit in the downhills. I was a bit scared so I lost some time at every corner. But this is a beautiful race. I’m proud to have contested it for the win”.