Il Lombardia: Tadej Pogačar takes third straight victory in Italian Monument

Slovenian solos to historic win with final-climb attack, as Bagioli and Roglič round out podium from chase group

Clock14:41, Saturday 7th October 2023
Tadej Pogačar took a third successive victory in Il Lombardia

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Tadej Pogačar took a third successive victory in Il Lombardia

UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogačar took his third consecutive victory in Il Lombardia, soloing 30km to the finish to claim an historic win and the final Monument title of 2023, and the fifth of his career.

After attacking over the top of the Passo di Ganda climb, the Slovenian pulled out a lead on the favourite on the tricky Selvino descent, and held off the slightly disorganised chase group all the way into Bergamo.

Finishing almost a minute down on the winner, it was a four-up sprint for the remaining podium places, with Andrea Bagioli (Soudal Quick-Step) just edging out Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) to take second.

Pogačar becomes only the third rider to win three editions of Il Lombardia in a row, joining Fausto Coppi and Alfredo Binda in what is a very esteemed list.

“I tried to attack on the climb, but actually [Aleksandr] Vlasov was I think today one of the strongest on the climb, but I knew the climb really well and I didn’t give up until the top,” Pogačar said at the finish. “I was hoping that me and Aleksandr would collaborate to the finish line, but they came from behind pretty good, the other competitors, so it was just in the moment that I got a little gap.

“I knew the descent much better than two years ago - two years ago it was a bit of a disaster, this descent - but today I gave it all. It was tough to go so far to the finish. Today was a super hard race, every climb.”

An explosive day at the race of the falling leaves

The battle for the breakaway started as soon as the flag dropped, and the first significant move stuck after around 5km, with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Dstny) leading a ten-man group up the road. They soon stretched out their advantage to over a minute, meanwhile a group of six set off to try and bridge to the lead - this move included Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers) and Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck) - and they joined the lead after 36km to make a 16-man group that then pulled out a four-minute lead.

Back in the peloton, a crash in the middle of the bunch at 20km saw a handful of riders go down, including Remco Evenepoel and two of his Soudal Quick-Step teammates, as well as Giovanni Aleotti (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Sjoerd Bax (UAE Team Emirates), who abandoned. Evenepoel and his teammates were held up for quite a while, but the Belgian champion was eventually back riding, with a bloodied elbow and hand.

On the second climb of the day, the Roncola, the pace set by Jumbo, EF Education-EasyPost and UAE Team Emirates started to put several riders in trouble at the back of the peloton - albeit not any big names, but the peloton was already starting to thin out with 135km still to go.

The damage of the pacing on the climb was that the leaders’ advantage had been cut down to two and a half minutes as the race crossed its halfway mark. On the next climb, the Berbenno, Soudal Quick-Step took over the front of the peloton, sending six riders to pace. The first of the big-name riders to get into trouble was Enric Mas (Movistar) who was dropped out of contention with more than 100km still to race.

Going into the final 100km, the breakaway slowly started to disintegrate with riders gradually dropped as the effects of the parcours so far started to show. On the Passo della Croscetta Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) attacked, joined by Oscar Onley (dsm-firmenich) as the pair set off in pursuit of the leaders, catching the remainder of the break going into the final 70km. This group of five then held an advantage over the Zambla climb, but were reeled back in as the next climb approached.

At the foot of the Passo di Ganda, Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) and Soudal Quick-Step set a fierce pace, quickly catching the leaders and seeing a group of riders chip off the front of the peloton, whilst behind, Remco Evenepoel was dropped and saw the race go again from him. Yates was joined by his teammate Tadej Pogačar, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla), Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) and Andrea Bagioli (Soudal Quick-Step), among others, though the situation was not fully settled as the race entered the final 35km.

A few kilometres from the top of the climb, Pogačar attacked, taking Vlasov with him at first, but dropping the Bora-Hansgrohe rider on the descent and pulling out a gap on his own. Finishing the descent with 13km to go, Pogačar had a lead of 43 seconds, pulling out more of an advantage over the seven-man group that contained Roglic, Bagioli and Carapaz. Behind that, Evenepoel had made a return, and was leading the third group on the road.

Going into the final 10km, Pogačar looked like he may be struggling, banging his legs in what is often a sign of cramp, but the clock didn’t reflect that as his lead held steady, growing to a minute into the final 4km. Despite some gaps on the Aperto climb, the chasing group came towards the finish together, preparing for a sprint for second.

Up ahead, Pogačar was able to sit up and enjoy his victory, adding to his win in the Tour of Flanders earlier this year, and taking his fifth Monument victory. In the sprint from the chasers, Gran Piemonte winner Andrea Bagioli claimed second, whilst big pre-race favourite Primož Roglič took third.

Watch extended highlights of this race on GCN+ now, with unrivalled analysis and replays on demand. Territory restrictions apply, check availability here.

Race Results

1

si flag

POGACAR Tadej

UAE Team Emirates

5H 55' 33"

2

it flag

BAGIOLI Andrea

Soudal Quick-Step

+ 52"

3

si flag

ROGLIC Primoz

Jumbo-Visma

"

4

ru flag

VLASOV Aleksandr

BORA-hansgrohe

"

5

gb flag

YATES Simon

Team Jayco-AlUla

"

6

gb flag

YATES Adam

UAE Team Emirates

"

7

es flag

RODRIGUEZ Carlos

INEOS Grenadiers

"

8

ec flag

CARAPAZ Richard

EF Education-EasyPost

+ 1' 06"

9

be flag

EVENEPOEL Remco

Soudal Quick-Step

+ 1' 26"

10

dk flag

KRON Andreas

Lotto Dstny

"

Provided by FirstCycling

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