Il Lombardia: Janse van Rensburg plays card early in breakaway

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) won the final monument of the year, Il Lombardia, after attacking on the penultimate climb of the day and soloing to the victory. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) finished in 2nd with Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) rounding out the podium. 

The day started well for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as Jacques Janse van Rensburg made the early break of the day as the riders left Bergamo. The peloton held the attackers close for quite some time, before the elastic snapped and the gap ballooned to over 12-minutes for the 6 riders.

The big lead obtained early on may have been to the detriment of the Janse van Rensburg’s break though as Cannondale-Drapac, Bahrain-Merida and Trek-Segafredo all started chasing quite hard from a long way out. With over 4000m of climbing on today’s route, and a fast pace to catch the break, naturally the peloton whittled down as the 248km ticked by.

Janse van Rensburg’s break was caught on the steep Colma di Sormano climb with 58km to go, leaving all to play for over the final two climbs of the day. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) attacked the reduced peloton on the penultimate climb and was later joined by Nibali just before the summit at 18km to go. On the descent the Italian was able to distance the Frenchman, and he would need be seen again. Alaphilippe caught and passed Pinot in the closing kilometers to claim 2nd on his own, Moscon won the group sprint for 3rd at the end.

Jacques Janse van Rensburg – Rider
The first move that went had 6 or 7 riders in it, we had Ben King there. I was at the front of the peloton and tried to slow things down so the break could go but some riders started attacking again. I followed the moves and then took my opportunity to get away. Me and another Italian rider got a gap, we had 30 seconds for about 20 kilometers and it was really hard to make the break stick. Eventually 4 riders came across to us and then we got a nice big gap. In such a long and difficult race, the teams behind always control it and bring the break back around 50 to 40 kilometers to go. The chances of the break staying away are never that good but it’s better for me to go in the break than try to hang on with the main guys at the end, as you could see how strong Nibali was. At least we could show the team in the front so it was a good day for me.