BERGAMO, Italy — Esteban Chaves became the first Colombian to win Il Lombardia in snatching victory from Diego Rosa of Italy by less than a bike wheel on Saturday.
Rosa looked set for a surprise victory after launching his sprint with 250 meters to go, but Chaves came from behind to claim his first Monument win, crossing the line to a huge sigh of disappointment from the Italian fans.
“It’s unbelievable, I can’t believe I won,” said the Orica-BikeExchange rider, who also became the first non-European to win the race in its 110-year history. “I turned pro here in Lombardy with Coldeportes, I lived in Bergamo for two years, and now I won the race. It’s really special.”
Another Colombian, Rigoberto Uran, was third in the final classic of the season, a challenging 241-kilometer (150-mile) route from Como to Bergamo, featuring 4,400 meters of climbing. All three had the same time of 6 hours, 26 minutes, 36 seconds.
Romain Bardet, who was part of the lead quartet, crossed the line fourth, six seconds slower, with the chase group more than a minute further back.
Chaves attacked at the bottom of the Selvino, and was swiftly joined by Uran and Bardet.
Rosa tried to drag Astana leader Fabio Aru back up to the front but the Sardinian told his teammate to go it alone and a fantastic effort saw him do just that, catching the front three at the top of the climb, with 30 kilometers remaining. And they distanced the peloton on the long, twisty descent into Bergamo.
Bardet was dropped on the climb to Bergamo Alta, as was Rosa briefly, but the French rider could not make it back on.