Nieve 15th at Il Lombardia to close out European season

Sat 13 Oct 2018

34-year-old Mikel Nieve placed 15th as Mitchelton-SCOTT’s top finisher at Il Lombardia, the final monument and last race in Europe for 2018, today. 

The penultimate climb of Sormano proved to be decisive as the winning move was launched by Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) over the top with only eventual winner Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) able to follow. 

Haig chases
After an aggressive start, a breakaway of eight riders established the day’s main breakaway and rode out to a six-minute advantage over the first 100km of racing. 

When the serious climbs began, the gap began to decrease and the break was reduced to just four surviving riders. Counter attacks began on the Madonna del Ghisallo, including from Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Jack Haig, and it sparked a reaction from the peloton. Shortly after, on the slopes of the main Sormano climb, the front of the race was back as one. 

Crucial Sormano climb:
Almost immediately after the race was brought back together, the crucial move was made with Vincenzo Nibali launching over the crest of the Sormano climb and only Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ) able to respond.

Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) was the next to crest as he shortly joined the leading pair, before Egan Bernal (Team Sky) put in an impressive descent to make it four out in front. 

Behind, an elite chase group, including Adam Yates and Mikel Nieve for Mitchelton-SCOTT, set off in pursuit.

Final climb:
Nibali and Pinot prove they were the day’s premier climbers at the front before, after a number of attempts Pinot also shed Nibali and descending to the finish line for a solo victory.

Behind, the pace increased in the chase, and both Yates and Nieve lost touch, but they weren’t able to pull back the 45-second difference as Nibali held on to finish second.

Mikel Nieve:
"It was a very hard race all day and when the favourites moved from the Sormano from there, for us, it was about trying to survive.

"Our idea was to try to put someone into the top 10 and we gave everything we had, but we lacked a bit of strength in the end."  

Il Lombardia Results:
1. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) 5:53:22
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +0:32
3. Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team) +0:43
15. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:31

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.