Pinot de­thrones Nibali to win Tour of Lom­bardy

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

France’s Thibaut Pinot de­throned two-time win­ner Vin­cenzo Nibali to fin­ish his sea­son on a high in the Tour of Lom­bardy, the fifth and fi­nal ‘Mon­u­ment’ of the one-day clas­sics sea­son yes­ter­day.

Pinot, of the Groupama-FDJ team, soloed over the fin­ish line at Lake Como to win the 241km­long ‘Race of the Fall­ing Leaves’, which be­gan in Berg­amo. Italy’s de­fend­ing cham­pion Nibali (Bahrain) fin­ished sec­ond at 30secs be­hind, with Bel­gian Dy­lan Te­uns (BMC) third at 43sec.

“To win here in front of Vin­cenzo, I couldn’t have dreamed of bet­ter!” said the 28-year-old climb­ing spe­cial­ist, who also won the Mi­lan-Turin semi-clas­sic in mid­week.

He be­comes the first French win­ner of the race since Lau­rent Jal­abert 21 years ago.

Pinot fin­ished third in 2015 and fifth in 2017 – the years when Nibali, 33, who has won all the Grand Tours, was vic­to­ri­ous in the race through north­ern Italy. “Among the mon­u­ments, Il Lom­bar­dia is the nicest in my mind,” con­tin­ued Pinot. “I’ve al­ways wanted to win it. I’m in the form of my life but to win ahead of Nibali is some­thing very spe­cial.”

“It’s my most beau­ti­ful vic­tory. I’m glad he at­tacked at Sor­mano. That was the key to suc­cess.” Un­der the sun­shine, the race sprung to life af­ter 50km at the Muro di Sor­mano, where Nibali and Pinot over­took Lotto’s Pri­moz Roglic who had lead go­ing into the very steep climb.

“When I saw Nibali at­tack on the Sor­mano, I said to my­self ‘bingo, it’s a good move’,” ex­plained Pinot. “Vin­cenzo is a unique rider. Few would have done like him.”

The pair, joined by Roglic, pow­ered ahead in the de­scent, along with young Colom­bian Egan Ber­nal.

A group in­clud­ing new­ly­crowned world cham­pion Ale­jan­dro Valverde trailed at 40 sec­onds without be­ing able to close the gap.

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