115º Giro de Lombardía
Como-Bergamo (239 km)
The golden end to a competitive cycle in big races with a century of life comes with a special event, an appointment that will mean the first participation of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team in one of the five Monuments of the Cycling Sport: the Giro de Lombardia. The Classic of the Falling Leaves of 2021 will be even more special because of its demanding route with more than 4,500 metres of accumulated positive vertical drop.
The British Mark Christian, the Hungarian Erik Fetter and the Italians Vicenzo Albanese, Davide Bais, Lorenzo Fortunato, Francesco Gavazzi and Edward Ravasi make up the first seven of the ProTeam structure of the Fundación Contador in a Monument. A team that combines youth and experience, with riders capable of riding in the breakaways and defending themselves on the climbs. Five of its seven riders know what it is to race a Monument and three of them have previous experience in the Lombardy race. Experience is always a degree.
At the front, the weight of years, the captain Francesco Gavazzi. The cyclist from Valtellina faces what will be his 30th participation in one of the Five Monuments. Gava, who only needs to discover Paris-Roubaix, returns to a Giro di Lombardia in which he has started twelve times. Ten Milan-Sanremo, six Liège-Bastogne-Liège and one appearance in the De Ronde make up his interesting track record.
“Lombardy is Lombardy”, he pointed out, having just finished the 100th edition of the Tre Valli Varesini. “It’s one of the most important classics in the world and that alone makes it special. It’s the last big race of the season, with a great history behind it. Whether it starts from Como and arrives in Bergamo or the other way around, it’s always demanding. It’s always a very selective race, but perhaps even more so when you get to Bergamo because the climbs are longer and also harder. This year it’s going to be like that. And then, in addition to the hardness, there is the participation. There’s Pogacar, there’s Roglic… the best in the world will be there. It’s like a new World Championship because of the quality of the peloton. This makes the Giro di Lombardia even more difficult, but it also arouses more enthusiasm. For me, being from Lombardy, it’s always a race to dream about. I haven’t done particularly well either, especially for altimetric reasons, but it’s always a joy to be able to race it and we hope to do a good job. Fortunato is strong. Albanese too. And with my experience I hope to be able to help them in the key moments”.
Gavazzi talks about Lorenzo Fortunato and the rider from Bologna is one step below. The rider from Castell de Britti faces his third consecutive participation in Lombardy. And he can’t hide his eagerness to take on the race this Saturday. It’s a question of affinity. “After the Giro d’Italia, the race I like the most is the Giro di Lombardia. I think it’s a race that suits me very well as a rider. They are long climbs with regular gradients. In such a good season for me, this edition is even more special”, he said.
Joining the club of Monuments experts are Mark Christian, who competed in two editions of The Doyenne Liege-Bastogne-Liege (2017, 2018) and Vincenzo Albanese in another two editions of Milano-Sanremo (2020, 2019). Also Varesino Edward Ravasi will race in Lombardy for the fourth time and, given his experience in Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2020, he faces his fifth monument. For Davide Bais and Erik Fetter, however, it will be a new adventure in their young careers. “I can’t wait to start competing in my first Monument,” says Fetter, who will be the third Hungarian rider to start in the Lombard classic, a path opened by Csaba Szekeres in 2001 and followed by Attila Valter in 2020. “I think it’s one of the toughest one-day races in the sport, so it will be a bit of a challenge for me given my youth. The fact that I am on the start line is already a great happiness and excitement for me. I will do my best to do my best for the team and to help my team-mates in every possible scenario”.