The 114th edition of Il Lombardia carries a deep additional meaning because it will start from the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy, the province of Bergamo, and it will take place entirely in Lombardy, the region most affected by the Bel Paese. The race will be an international symbol of the restart and the tentative return to normality, albeit with all the necessary precautions and protocols being respected. Furthermore, the race will pay homage to two great champions of Italian cycling: Felice Gimondi, born in the Bergamo area, one year after his death, and Fiorenzo Magni, 100 years after his birth.
"I believe this year's race can be a great opportunity for us, for the territories that host Il Lombardia and for all the cycling fans. After this tough period, we are convinced that helping riders back onto the roads is vitally important,” said RCS Sport Cycling Director Mauro Vegni during the presentation of the race.
International relaunch for Bergamo and Lombardy
“Starting from Bergamo and arriving in Como has grown into a beautiful tradition that everybody appreciates. We will have great international athletes and I am confident that Il Lombardia 2020 will be the occasion for a relaunch for cycling and beyond,” Vegni added.
The provisional startlist is impressive, including Vuelta a Burgos and Tour de Pologne winner Remco Evenepoel, defending champion Bauke Mollema, previous winner Vincenzo Nibali, last maglia rosa Richard Carapaz, Liège–Bastogne–Liège 2019 winner Jakob Fulsang, Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenges winner Aleksandr Vlasov as well as Mathieu van der Poel.
Despite suffering thousands of deaths, Bergamo and its Orobic population never gave up; demonstrating their characteristic tenacity and resilience. The world of cycling expressed its solidarity in the toughest moment of the pandemic in March: rainbow jersey maker Santini converted its production line to make protective face masks and former MTB UCI World Champion Dario Acquaroli donated his winning bike to fight COVID-19.
“Even in the crazy year of 2020, Il Lombardia returns to the streets of the city of Bergamo – a departure that's filled with symbolism after the Covid-19 emergency that befell our city,” said the mayor of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori.
“Our city and our territory leave behind the painful events of last spring and re-launch themselves to the world for what they are: places of art, culture, charm and great sport, even more beautiful and stronger than before. Happy Il Lombardia to all.”
It will be an unusual edition of the Giro di Lombardia because from its classic schedule at the end of the season it has been moved to Ferragosto, the Italian nickname for 15th of August, which is traditionally among the warmest days of the year as well as being a national holiday. Unlike Milano-Sanremo, the route was subject to just a minor change from the recent editions of the Classica delle foglie morte – Classic of Fallen Leaves – even though this year the trees will still be in vivid green.
Starting from Bergamo the race will face the early climbs of Colle Gallo and Colle Brianza. The small change happens in the descent, going towards Oggiono without the initially planned detour for Lecco / Valmadrera and the subsequent return to Oggiono. The result is 12km less than the previous route for a total of 231km, but all the other iconic elements of Il Lombardia remain intact. The riders will face the renowned Madonna del Ghisallo - passing near the Museum and the Sanctuary of Virgin Mary of Ghisallo - and the demanding Colma di Sormano. After a few kilometres of medium slopes, the route heads up the fearful Muro di Sormano final part: a narrow, 2km long road with an extremely steep gradient peaking at 27%. The thrilling finale’s menu offers the climbs of Civiglio - where Bauke Mollema attacked last year - and San Fermo di Battaglia, just 5.4km from the finish line of Piazza Cavour, near the shore of Lago di Como.
Tributes to two great champions
The Giro di Lombardia 2020 will also pay homage to two great Italian champions: Felice Gimondi and Fiorenzo Magni.
It will be held one day after the first anniversary of the death of Gimondi, who won all three Grand Tours (the Giro d'Italia in 1967, 1969 and 1976; the Tour de France in 1965 as a neo-pro, and the Vuelta a España in 1968), along with the UCI World Championship in 1973, Milano-Sanremo in 1974, Paris-Roubaix in 1966 and the Giro di Lombardia – twice – in 1966 and 1973. He was born in 1942 in Sedrina, in Bergamo province, just a few kilometres from the route of the race.
Magni will also be remembered in this edition, 100 years after his birth. The Tuscan rider who won three editions of Giro d’Italia and the Tour des Flandres three times was also respected as president of the Ghisallo Cycling Museum Foundation.