Rui, Nairo make great defence
29 September 2012

Il Lombardia

The Portuguese, valiant in the finale, and the Colombian, 11th at the finish after fighting with the top guns, cover Valverde's absence perfectly at the last monument of the season

With Alejandro Valverde calling out of the race after an unfortunate flu suffered in the last few days, Movistar Team kept their extraordinary collective level of the entire 2012 season at Il Lombardia, the last UCI World Tour event in Europe over 251 kilometers of mountains between Bergamo and Lecco under hellish, soaking weather conditions of rain and fog, causing numerous crashes that did not, fortunately, affect any of the Blues. The infamous Muro di Sormano left just ten riders behind the last escapee, Frenchman Romain Bardet (ALM), including Nairo Quintana, who exhibited again his great level from the recent Vuelta a España.

The regrouping at the dangerous descent and the flat following the Madonna del Ghisallo left almost fourty riders at the front, with Rui Costa giving it a try with 25k from the finish. The Portuguese rider was chased down by the bunch just at the foot of the decisive Salita di Ello, where Rodríguez (KAT) claimed some key seconds to win solo while Quintana sticked to the favourites’ wheels to make it into a quintet with Urán, Henao (SKY), Contador (STB) and Santambrogio (BMC), eventually neutralized by around ten riders to take 11th at the final sprint.