Gilbert hopes a rainbow will shine over Il Lombardia on Gimondi’s birthday

Bergamo – 28 September 2012 – Il Lombardia, tomorrow’s 251km race from Bergamo to Lecco, will be the first in the rainbow jersey for the newly appointed World Champion, Philippe Gilbert.

Taking place just one week from the UCI Road World Championships, riders will be looking to Il Lombardia to take their revenge on the new champ.

The Belgian ace, who won the monument race organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport in 2009 and 2010, is looking for a third victory. The last rider that won the “dead leaves classic” in the World Champion jersey was Paolo Bettini in 2006.

Trying to ruin the plans of the World Champion are a group of great riders: the Vuelta a Espana and recent Milan-Torino winner, Alberto Contador; Giro d’Italia winner, Ryder Hesjedal; Joaquin Rodriguez (a specialist on similar courses); Vincenzo Nibali (one of the great protagonists of last year race); Rigoberto Uran Uran (winner of yesterday’s Gran Piemonte); Samuel Sanchez; Ivan Basso; Damiano Cunego (who has won Il Lombardia three times: 2004, 2007 and 2008); Franco Pelizzotti (Italian Champion); Diego Ulissi; Oliver Zaugg (winner of last year’s race, who will start wearing no.1)

Alongside these athletes all the riders who have the legs to compete on the very selective course will fight for the final victory, after climbing the famous Muro di Sormano – back in the race a 50 year absence. There will be 25 teams at the start, each one with 8 riders (18 World Tour and 7 wild cards).

This “parterre de roi”, together with the peloton and the organization, will celebrate the birthday of Felice Gimondi, who turns 70 tomorrow.

Starting from 9.30 on the Signature Podium in Bergamo, Rcs Sport will celebrate Felice Gimondi giving him three special celebrative medals to remember his victories in past editions of Giro d’Italia, Milan Sanremo and Il Lombardia.

Following this event Gimondi will receive two celebrative jerseys dedicated to his victories in Il Lombardia on 1966 and 1973. Last but not least the legend from Bergamo will give the start to the 106th edition of Il Lombardia.

During the Il Lombardia, climbing times for the ascent of the Muro di Sormano will be recorded. Results will be revealed after the end of the race.

This year La Gazzetta dello Sport will give a Special Prize dedicated to the memory of Pier Luigi Todisco, one of their journalists who died tragically a year ago while commuting to the office on his bike. The Prize will go to the rider that passes the top of the Ghisallo climb first.

Il Lombardia will be broadcasted live in more than 70 countries all over the world though the following TV networks: EUROSPORT (International and Asia Pacific); Universal Sports (USA and Canada), Televisa Deporte Network (Mexico and Central America), J-Sport (Japan), TV2 (Norway), NOS (The Netherlands), VRT (Belgium – Flemish Language), RTBF (Belgium – French Language); EITB (Spain – Basque Country) and SRG SSR (Switzerland).

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