Philippe Gilbert started the Giro di Lombardia as a favourite, but ended the race with a crash.
The Belgian was thinking of winning the Lombardi race for a third time in his career, but the world champion was first distanced slightly on the Muro di Sormano and after being back in the group, he crashed heavily 70 kilometres from the finish. His teammate Alessandro Ballan also fell.
“With the cold, I was feeling a bit paralyzed and, at the beginning, I was afraid because I couldn't move for one or two minutes,” Gilbert said. “I feared there was something broken. Then I checked and saw everything was okay.”
He wasn't injured, but he still couldn't do much because he had lost so much time.
“In the end, it's a pity because I had good feelings and could have maybe done something,” he said.
“I'm feeling lucky I crashed now and not one week ago,” he continued. “If it had been a stage race, I think I wouldn't have abandoned. But today, after the crash, my race was over.”
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) had a great day in a rainy Italy today, as he became the first Spaniard to win the Giro di Lombardia. He decided to attack on the day's final climb of the Salite di Ello - Villa Vergano, and the chase group couldn't catch him. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) finished second and ky's Rigoberto Uran took third.
"This is the most important triumph of my whole career," said Rodriguez. "This for me was a perfect season: I won Fleche-Wallonne, and I took the second in the Giro d'Italia and third place in the Vuelta a Espana. After that I did my best to get ready for the world championships and Giro di Lombardia. In the former, my performance was so-so, but in the latter, it was a triumph.
"I was fighting for a double goal today, to win this prestigious competition and to take the lead in the UCI World Tour Ranking, and I managed both. So I'm really happy."
The rainy weather caused world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) to crash and abandoned the race.
Professional Continental team Argos-Shimano has sent its application dossier to try to step up into the UCI World Tour next season.
"It's the next logical step," team manager Iwan Spekenbrink told NOS.
This means the team could become the third Dutch WorldTour team after Rabobank and Vacansoleil-DCM. To be a WorldTour team, Argos-Shimano must pass four selection criteria: one sporting, one financial, one organisational and one ethical. / The team tried to take the step last year, as well, but failed only by four points on the sporting criteria.
"We hope that our results will get us a good placing," said Spekenbrink.
The team has scored 22 victories this year, all of them taken by only two riders of the squad - Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb.
The team has decided to let five riders to leave, which means we will not see Ronan van Zandbeek, Thomas Bonnin, Alexandre Geniez, Roger Kluge and Dominic Klemme in the team, but other riders will join.
Spekenbrink said that he was "currently busy negotiating with a number of interesting riders. We expect to have between 27 and 30 riders for the upcoming season."
"In November, the UCI will announce which teams have applied for a licence. Then it will announce the follow-up procedure. It's possible that we will only know in December if we get a licence or not."