The picturesque Italian Lombardy region set the scene for the 117th edition of the legendary Il Lombardia, as Romain Bardet managed to cross the line in a strong 11th position after a great chase, finishing off his 2023 season in a good way on Saturday afternoon.
The parcours would bring the peloton to Bergamo over 238 kilometres, on which they had to conquer no less than 4646 elevation metres. From the flag drop in Como, it was an incredibly fast start as the peloton rolled attacks, looking to form the break of the day. A group of ten riders went clear, whilst other riders tried to bridge their way to the front group. However, a crash in the peloton – involving Remco Evenepoel – made the peloton stop chasing down any attackers and six more riders joined the day’s break.
Nevertheless, the sixteen leaders were always kept on a tight leash, not gaining more than four minutes. Arriving at the foot of the longest climb of the day, Passo della Crocetta, Team dsm-firmenich was brought to the front after efforts from Jonas Iversby Hvideberg and Chris Hamilton. The break’s advantage then reduced even further, to less than two minutes after which Oscar Onley jumped from the wheels and attacked, joined by the Irish Ben Healy. Shortly after, Matt Dinham tried his luck, but his group was not allowed to go clear. After a valiant effort, Onley made it to the front of the race, but lost contact with Healy near the top of Passo della Crocetta, with the ever-reducing peloton chasing them down. From then, Onley rode his own pace.
After charging down the descent, the thinned peloton with a strong-looking Romain Bardet headed to the last climb of the day. Attacks came directly as the group arrived at the foot of the Passo di Ganda, with a strong group going clear and Bardet chasing them on a short distance. Going down the final climb, the Frenchman made it into a solid group, starting a fantastic chase on the last thirty kilometres. Despite not being able to make real contact with the leaders, Bardet’s group managed to close. Pushing it all the way to the line, Bardet finished just outside the top ten, ending his 2023 season with Team dsm-firmenich in a positive way.