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Chaves wins the final monument of the season II Lombardia

Sat 1 Oct 2016

Esteban Chaves concluded his incredible 2016 season with a magnificent victory in the 110th edition of II Lombardia, writing his name into the history books as the first Colombian to ever win a monument. 

The impressive victory today comes after a strong run of form this year, including two Grand Tour podiums at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, and provides ORICA-BikeExchange with their second monument this season following Australian Mathew Hayman's win at Paris-Roubaix.

The 241kilometre action-packed race saw Chaves dominate on the climbs, attacking at the base of the penultimate climb, the Selvino, to created a leading group of four riders battling it out for victory.

With patience and confidence, Chaves launched out of the wheels in the final moments to take out a three-up sprint.

"It was a dream for me to win Il Lombardia,” explained Chaves after his victory. “I can't believe I've won this race. This is a monument."

“When I turned professional, I settled down here in Bergamo. I knew the roads but I wasn't sure if I could win today. 

“In the final, I tried to make a difference on the cobbles but Rigoberto (Uran) followed so I had to stay calm and go for the sprint, which is not my forte but I gave everything and I'm so happy that I made it.

“Today was a really amazing result for me and I can say that dreams come true, but this is not accidental this is because all of the team worked for this result. 

“This team is truly special because they work with the heart and when you work with the heart you can achieve these results. So it is thanks to ORICA-BikeExchange for believing in me."

How it happened:

The fifth and final monument of 2016 kicked off in Como today under grey skies and rainy conditions.

The star-studded field began at a rapid rate with numerous attacks coming from the very beginning. Despite many attempts, a breakaway wasn’t able to form until after more than 50kilometres into the race. 

Four riders, Rudy Molard (Team Cofidis), Stefan Denial (IAM Cycling), Damiano Caruso (BMC Pro Cycling) and Michael Cherel (AG2R-La Mondiale), were finally given some freedom and worked together to establish a gap, eventually riding out to a maximum advantage of seven minutes and 30seconds. 

As the peloton made their way over the selection of steep, challenging climbs, the roads began to dry up making it safer on the decent and consequently the speed began to increase.

With around 100kilometres to go a small group attacked off the front of the bunch and successfully bridged across to join two of the initial breakaway riders with Molard and Caruso remaining out in front with a three minute buffer.

On the 6.5kilometre climb, Sant Antonio Abbandonato, the race began to really light up with splits appearing and the bunch continuously reducing in size. ORICA-BikeExchange remained well represented with Chaves, Amets Txurruka, Damien Howson and Carlos Verona. 

Verona then proceeded to set a rapid pace which created more significant splits as the lead group drew closer to the leaders. 

As Verona peeled off, Chaves was quick to respond to a small group which then jumped clear, bridging across to make it an elite group of 14 riders including many of the favourites.

It wasn’t long before the remainder of the leaders were drawn back in and with 42kilometres still remaining the front lead group consisted of 16 men.

With 30kilometres left to race, at the base of the penultimate climb, the 6.9kilometre climb the Selvino, Chaves launched a well timed attack to split up the lead group once again.

He successfully rode away with Uran (Cannonade-Drapac) and Roman Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale). Diego Rosa (Astana) later joined the trio and the quadruplet increased their lead to over one minute.  

On the final climb with just four kilometres remaining, Chaves launched another attack which caused Bardet to dropped back and left the trio ahead to battle for the victory. 

II Lombardia results: 

1. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 6:26:36
2. Diego Rosa (Astana) ST
3. Rigoberto Uran (Cannonade-Drapac) ST

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