• Jakob Fuglsang takes the victory at Giro Il Lombardia (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) picked up the second monument victory of his career with a powerful solo attack in Il Lombardia, distancing New Zealander George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) on the final climb of San Fermo della Battaglia.
By
SBS Cycling Central

16 Aug 2020 - 10:23 AM 

Fuglsang and teammate Alexandr Vlasov were responsible for making the race hard on the Muro di Sormano, and after dispatching a trio of Trek-Segafredo riders, Bennett was the only obstacle between Astana and a win. 

The Gran Piemonte winner initially was able to follow Fuglsang when the Danish rider attacked on the Civiglio with 20 kilometres left to run in the race, but after Vlasov bridged over, Bennett was at a disadvantage to the Astana pair.

The Jumbo-Visma rider tried a series of attacks on the San Fermo della Bataglia, but Fuglsang was able to respond each time, though Vlasov was dropped. When Fuglsang countered a Bennett move, he immediately established a gap and there was no looking back on the way to the finish.  

"I felt good but you never know how the others feel," said Fuglsang after the race. "I saw George Bennett was strong and he'd won a couple of days ago."

"In the finale, I told myself to wait for the sprint, I thought that I could beat him [Bennett] but when he attacked a second time I decided to go myself and he faded."

Fuglsang paid tribute to his teammate for his surge to rejoin him prior to the Civiglio climb and distance Trek-Segafredo's Vincenzo Nibali, Bauke Mollema and Giulio Ciccone.

"It was important to reduce the group and Vlasov was a campione today," said Fuglsang. "He gave me a big hand to finish things off."

Bennett found himself in a difficult spot up against three Trek-Segafredo riders and two Astana riders in the final 40 kilometres, but managed to fight his way through to take second on the day.

"I tried with everything but I couldn't drop him…" Bennett said of his attacks of Fuglsang. "During the race I felt I had good legs and wanted to attack on the Civiglio. I just couldn't follow Fuglsang that last time. I'm disappointed but in a few days I'll be happy for this result."

The race was marred by two crashes, the most dramatic one for pre-race favourite Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) that saw the young Belgian star crash off a bridge into a ravine. Maximillian Schachmann (BORA-hansgrohe) was then hit by a car driven by a member of the public after it was on the course during the race.

Trek-Segafredo had the numbers in the front group after the thinning down of the front group, but didn't make use of their superiority, simply riding at the front before Fuglsang's attack. Vincenzo Nibali, Guilio Ciccone and Bauke Mollema finished fourth to sixth.