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Spanish rider makes up for disappointment of last weekend's world championship...

Joaquim Rodriguez, beaten in the closing metres of last Sunday's world championship road race in Tuscany, has swiftly put that disappointment behind him by winning the final monument of the season, il Lombardia, for the second year running.

The Katusha rider attacked on the day's final climb to Villa Vergano, just as he had done 12 months ago, and stayed away to win by a quarter of a minute from Movistar's Alejandro Valverde, who had finished third in the world championship behind Portugal's Rui Costa and Rodriguez.

Third place today was claimed by Saxo-Tinkoff's Rafal Majka, with Garmin-Sharp's Dan Martin denied the chance to sprint against the Polish rider for the final podium position after apparently crashing out of sight of the TV cameras on the final bend of the 242km race from Bergamo to Lecco on the shores of Lake Como.

“It was a good win for me, in a beautiful race," said Rodriguez afterwards. I’m just enjoying the moment. I always try to look forward.

"This week hasn’t been easy because the World Championships are World Championships. But I have family and friends who helped me focus on this race, and I’ve come out of it the winner.

"It was important to prove to myself that I could recover well after World Championships and focus on the next race. This win helps me move towards 2014 knowing that this is my level.”

Conditions were cold and wet, although the rain was nothing like the deluge that had fallen on last year's race, not to mention the world championship last Sunday.

Thomas Voeckler of Europcar had attacked from the break to lead the race solo by a shade over 3 minutes as he crossed the summit of the Madonna del Ghisallo climb with 46km left to ride, but the Frenchman was brought back ahead of the last ascent of the day.

Rodriguez's winning move on the way up to Villa Vergano followed earlier unsuccessful attacks on the same ascent by Domenico Pozzovivo of AG2R and FDJ's Thibaut Pinot.

Some big names were missing from the front group by that point, not least Giro d'Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali who had crashed out with around 90km still to ride.

“I knew that if I wanted to win, I had to attack there," reflected Rodriguez. "It’s October, the race is 240 km long, it was raining and cold, and it was even faster than last year, and you could feel the group was tired.

"I knew I had to make one decisive attack. I attacked at the right moment although, on the descent, I never trusted the curves in the rain, so the final descent was stressful. It is great to win, and it’s never easy."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

9 comments

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cycle_physio [37 posts] 2 years ago
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vamos Purito  41

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jollygoodvelo [1426 posts] 2 years ago
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I had 1-2-3-4 in my fantasy team  36

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 2 years ago
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Most importantly. Purito has regained the number one spot in the world tour  36 36 36

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sm [383 posts] 2 years ago
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Most loveable rider in the pro-peloton? Ok, maybe the tears last week swayed me but he does seem pretty genuine in all interviews. Plus he doesn't seem to like Valverde much which is always a plus!

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dreamlx10 [159 posts] 2 years ago
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La Lombardia ?

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James Warrener [1082 posts] 2 years ago
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Pretty exciting finale that. Well done Purito.

Voeckler was pretty amusing having a lengthy argument with himself and the referees car.

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Simon_MacMichael [2452 posts] 2 years ago
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dreamlx10 wrote:

La Lombardia ?

La Lombardia for the region; il Lombardia for the race [former name il Giro di Lombardia explains].

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dreamlx10 [159 posts] 2 years ago
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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
dreamlx10 wrote:

La Lombardia ?

La Lombardia for the region; il Lombardia for the race [former name il Giro di Lombardia explains].

I see, thanks for clearing that up I wasn't sure if it was Il or La.

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ragtimecyclist [158 posts] 2 years ago
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After a lot of racing this year in pretty extreme weather, it seems fitting that the last really big race of the year took place in mist and rain on greasy roads. I can just imagine Purito using a mental image of Valverde at the worlds as motivation on the final run in...once he broke clear he just wasn't having it, no-one was catching him!

Honorable mention for Dan Martin too, what a great year for him.