94° Il Piccolo Lombardia
Oggiono – Oggiono (170,6 km)
… And to ends an unforgettable season, a Monument. Or its counterpart in the U23 category. Il Piccolo Lombardia means for the category what the Giro di Lombardia means for the professionals. And it has been doing so for more than ninety years. Cyclists such as Sean Kelly, Moreno Argentin and Maurizio Fondriest, among many others, have won the race organised by the Velo Club Oggiono, which was first held in 1911. Frenchman Paul Lapeira was the winner in 2021.
The menu, demanding. More than 170 kilometres of route that can be broken down into two parts. The first revolves around a first circuit of just over 20 kilometres around Oggiono, where the cyclists face four passes over the finish line. The second, the decisive part, includes the climb from Bellagio to the Madonna del Ghisallo, the absolute icon of the Giro di Lombardia and, after another pass over the finish line, the climbs of Colle Brianza (up to Ravellino) and Marconaga di Ello.
The Madonna del Ghisallo has 8 kilometres of climbing at an average of 5.7%, with a short break at the end and two very tough sections with gradients of 14% and 12%. Colle Brianza on this side has less than 5 kilometres of ascent at an average of 4.5%, but a 19% ramp in its very hard central kilometre (9%) will generate movement. Marconaga di Ello is shorter, less than two kilometres, but it is a climb with a 7% gradient and a 14% ramp in its final part.
The EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team U23, with Dario Andriotto and Giuseppe De Maria at the head, goes to his debut in this prestigious race with a quintet formed by Marcel Camprubí, Sebastiano Minoia, Davide Piganzoli, Gabriele Raccagni and Javi Serrano.
“Running the Piccolo Lombardia is an extra motivation to face the end of the season. I’ve never been lucky enough to do it, but I’ve always heard good things about this race. Not in vain is it one of the best in the world in the U23 calendar”, says Serrano. “A race with this prestige is always a plus for the desire to race. We are going to Lombardy with a lot of desire, with the desire to fight to be at the front and with the desire to enjoy after a season that in the end has gone very well, with almost all the objectives fulfilled. The course is well suited to my characteristics. Let’s see if Lombardy can be a nice icing on the cake. I haven’t raced in Italy for a long time and it will be nice to finish the season here with all the Italian staff”.
“Lombardia is a very hard and hard-fought race, but we are a very strong team and we can play for the victory by racing as a team”, says Sebastiano Minoia, who is facing his first year in the U23 category. “I am very happy with this season. I have learned a lot in adapting to the category with Rafa, Dario, Carlos, Beppe and all my team-mates. To Lombardy I arrive well, in good conditions and ready to give the best and to conclude in the best way this first campaign as u23. In the Vuelta a Cantabria I had some problems with my knee, but they have been overcome. I’m super ‘pronto per il domenica'”.