La classica delle foglie morte. One of the last races of the season. The last goal for many of the riders starting. They have removed the Muro de Sormano and the dangerous descent. It looks like a race that will be determined on Civiglio.
I will go deeper into detail on the scenarios later, but this is the first hard climb of the day. Will we see any team willing to shred the race to pieces more than 200 km out?
This is the new finale. San Fermo, Civiglio and San Fermo.
Almost no wind, high temperatures for October and no rain.
How will the race unfold
a) Chaos on the first climb of the day, 5% chance.
b) Civiglio will determine the outcome, 95% chance.
I think the lack of Muro de Sormano will mean we will have a big group together at the foot at the first San Fermo ascent. Therefore, moves will not be made there. We will not see moves at the foot of Civiglio, there will still be teams with helpers. Therefore, my best guess is in the final half of Civiglio. Mas will attack. Then we will see who is able to follow.
The descent is not easy. Very quick and narrow. We will see if the group that goes clear works together or they will get caught. As mentioned, since the move will come late, the gap will be smaller. If it comes back together, it is about playing it cool if you don’t have a sprint and pick the right moment to attack. Just a moments hesitation from the others means you can win. Therefore, the last time up San Fermo can be vital – or an attack on the last descent.
Pogacar – has he timed it perfectly just like last season? I have my doubts. Despite two very good results after Worlds, he doesn’t seem to be the unbeatable Pogacar just now. He has a mighty strong to support him, the will do everything they can to keep it together until Civiglio. They did a good job in both Emilia and Tre Valli Varesine. It is their recipe and Pogacar is looking better and better after each race.
Mas – the man who makes Pogacar look mortal right now. One week ago, he simply gapped him. He is the man who poses the greatest threat to Pogacar if you ask me. His main problem will be that the race does not finish uphill, something that will make it very difficult for him to win – as he is not the best descender, if I recall correctly. He will attack on Civiglio, and very few will be able to follow.
Vingegaard – Yes, he did well after in Croatia, but this is a much different race. We had short, steep slopes in Croatia – in Lombardy, they are a bit longer. Civiglio will still not be a climb that suits Vingegaard very much. It is too short. It is hard to say how well he is going, since Tour of Croatia is a completely different race altogether. I think he will do well, but I really doubt he can win.
Adam Yates – I think he will be the best from INEOS. Normally, he would do very well in the Italian races. Civiglio reminds me of the Superga, a climb he normally performs very well on. The team is strong, but he rarely performs very well when they race more than 200 km a day.
Uran – he is going very well, and form can carry you a long way in October. I’m very keen to see how EF approach the race as they have plenty of options. I do think it will be the experienced rider from the team that will be the best of them. He has performed well here in the past too.
Mollema – he is a rider that always have something left in the tank whenever we approach the last races in the season. I do the new route suits him better as it is not as tough as it used too. As mentioned, he could be the rider who attacks just at the right time, he has done so often in the past.
Bardet – ever since he became a better GT rider again, his good results in one-day races has vanished. Nonetheless, he has looked better and better since the Canadian races a month ago and I think he has timed his form perfectly. He was top-10 here last year, something I think he can redo.
Pozzovivo – he is climbing well, very well. He will be difficult to distance, but I don’t see him winning solo. A top-10 for sure.
Nibali – does the old shark have one out-of-this-world descent left in the bank? I do think so. Atleast, I like to hope so. I am sure he will give his all, and I do hope that is a good placement.
Valverde – the veteran says goodbye. I’ve grown up watching him and the shark in my youth. He will likely follow wheels and hope for a sprint. Let’s cross our fingers he does not start his sprint 300 meters out – he has done that one to many times of late.
⭐⭐ Vingegaard, Valverde, Pozzovivo
⭐ Nibali, Mollema, Bardet, Yates
Who will win?
As boring as I am, I think the easier route will make it easier for Pogacar to follow Mas’ attack. He will do as last year with Masnada, simply just show the world, what a magnificent rider he is.