Tour of Lombardy
The Giro di Lombardi marks a first and last in the cycling season. The last of the five monuments, 7 months after Milan San Remo, the first time the new world champion shows his jersey!
There’s more to the race than ‘just’ the 270 odd km course, the stunning scenery, and the high possibility of adverse weather, it’s also the face-off for those who contended the world championships. Never more clearly illustrated than this year, Rodriguez was victor in Lombardy last year, but was outfoxed in the last 50 metres of the world championships. His strategy is well understood, wait until the gradient reaches higher double digits and head off up the road. Repeating this left him devoid of the kick required to take on Costa’s sprint.
Spanish strategy has been examined and criticised, Nibali admired, and Costa applauded. Costa has significantly more punch and flavour than the normal Costa enjoyed in the UK. There’s little more to say on the matter.
Costa’s move from Movistar next year is not surprising, as the team is already overburdened with talent. Lampre welcoming him is perhaps a bit more surprising. For the sake of their budget let’s hope that the contract was signed before the ink dried on the print of the rainbow rings.
All in all this brings us back to the jersey. The year that Evans ruled the world was one of the most eagerly anticipated – an Assos rainbow jersey – we wanted it, we waited for it, but the clothing sponsor changed in the off-season and the edge was taken off it.
Will Movistar go crazy and blast into rainbow heaven? Shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, lid, gloves, and, in Glibert’s case, a tattoo? Wherever they go with it, you can be sure that the Lampre jersey for 2014 will be eye-catching as victories for such a small squad are few and far between.
The jersey itself represents, in one arena at least, the culmination of a style extravaganza. Luca Paolini takes the gold, a lid almost worthy of Valentino Rossi, perhaps embracing the most useful aspect of sprint lids – advertising space! Chris Anker Sorensen, silver, gurning at the back of the bunch he suddenly appeared on the front, wearing what appeared to be tight tracksuit bottoms, and pimped the peloton. Bronze belongs to Costa for the stealth suit that kept him off all radar until the last km. The wooden spoon goes to Team GB…