Oliver Zaugg wins IL Lombardia 2011
A great race to finish off the year and a great surprise win by swiss rider Oliver Zaugg.
Zaugg lives on the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland Ticino, that borders Lake Como, making him almost at home for this race, as they are the roads he trains on regularly.
The daring move came when Vicenzo Nibali (Liquigas) attacked at the base of the Ghisallo. Many of us thought he would stay clear and ride solo. But the Ghisallo proved to be harder than he bargained for. He had no gas in the tank for the final climb (Vergano) nor the finish. His efforts completely red lined him and he finished 40th. Maybe the final climb of the Villa Vergano included this year was too tough ?
A little unknown (yes little as he's 5'7 120lbs) Oliver Zaugg stayed with the leaders at the back of the pack biding his time, and then made a brave move. I don't consider his win a lucky break or a fluke. He made the lead group, stayed with them, climbed very strongly, and then attacked on the steepest part of the day’s final climb to Villa Vergano and held off any chasers. I was worried at seeing Gilbert right in the thick of things near the end. But a surge in pace and then an attack by Zaugg proved Gilbert was human after all.
As much as I love watching the “heads of state” demolish the peloton, I think its great to see the domestiques taking home a few trophies every now and then. We saw the lanky Johan Van Summeren steal Paris-Roubaix and now Zaugg’s win in Lombardia is proof that every now and then, the big guns can lose. These guys give 110% for their race-day leaders every time. Its nice to know that when they eventually hang up their bikes, they’ll have a win in one of the great Classics to their names – very fitting and appropriate. Its a ride like this, I'm hoping Michael Barry can pull off one of these days.