12 November 2010

The Quintessential Fall Classic: The Tour of Lombardy

The Giro de Lombardia, aka the Tour of Lombardy, 2010. Photo source: steephill.tv

It's November Trivia Time! Test your prowess and knowledge of cycling history and impress your friends on the next group ride. How many can you answer without looking?

This month's topic: the Tour of Lombardy, aka “The Race of the Falling Leaves”

Q1. Belgian hardman Phillipe Gilbert has won the last two Tours of Lombardy. Prior to Gilbert, who was the last previous back-to-back winner? For interests sake, let’s eliminate the “Italian Run” that preceded Gilbert (Bartoli in 2002-03, Bettini in 2005-06 and Cunego in 2007-08).

Q2. Lombardy is the only truly mountainous Classic and as such is won by Grand Tour riders more frequently than some of the other monuments in cycling. Who was the last Tour de France winner to triumph here?

Q3. Interestingly, a Spaniard has never won here, although Olympic Champion Sammy Sanchez has come close recently. With the Mountains and the proximity to the Spanish Vuelta, have there been any Vuelta/Lombardy doubles?

A1. Another Belgian!!! Eddie Merckx in 1971/72!

Eddie Merckx says, "Everything in bicycling is about evolution." Photo, left: showing off one of his 2011 models at Interbike in Las Vegas, NV. Read BicyclingHub.com's full interview with him here.

A2. Frenchman Bernard Hinault in 1984. Now, given that IS an Italian Classic there were no less than three Giro winners in that time (Cunego, DiLuca, and Rominger)

Photo, right: Bernard Hinault, aka "The Badger," won an incredible 28 stages and five Tours, from 1978-1985, and was second twice, in 1984 and 1986. He's been ranked #3 in the Top 25 All-Time Tour de France Riders. Photo source: bleacherreport.net.

A3. Granted the Vuelta only switched to the Fall in 1995, but no one has done it. Even with the Mountains and the date proximity, Grand Tours and One Day Races have become two separate beasts. Vuelta Champion Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, however was 5th this year.


Leslie Johnson said...

Great post.

Jennifer Clunie said...

Thanks, Leslie! Coming from another writer, I greatly appreciate your words of encouragement.

Does your pen ever turn to bicycle-related matters?

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