August 1, 2006__

 

 

By Barry Boyce
CyclingRevealed Historian

#20

Top 20 All Time Major Classics:

Giro di Lombardia 1976: De Vlaeminck's Drive to Victory

CR Timeline 1976

Belgian ‘classics hero' Roger De Vlaeminck took his second Giro di Lombardia victory in the space of three years. Two years ago under heavy rain De Vlaeminck sat in the breakaway and let his main rival Eddy Merckx do all the work before sprinting for the win. This year it was De Vlaeminck driving the pace of a small breakaway group at the end.

The weather in 1976 included a warm sun and blue sky as the 130 rider peloton rolled out of Milan October 9, 1976. The Giro di Lombardia is usually noted for an early breakaway and this year was no exception. It was Bruno Zanoni who provided his team with the first media publicity and by the time the race reached the lakeside Town of Lecco his eight minute lead had been cut to six. On the flat section after Lecco he was caught by Italian David Boifava and tifosi had hopes of an Italian victory. However the chase by the dwindling peloton was heating-up.

Giro di Lombardia Profile courtesy Gazzetta dello Sport.

With 50 km to go, the time was right for attacks. Francesco Moser went twice but with no success. The decisive move came from Wladimiro Panizza. Quickly the elite group of 4 ( De Vlaeminck, Thevenet, Poulidor, and Zoetemelk ) joined the attack. Slowly the chase group gained valuable seconds under the impetuous of De Vlaeminck. After 10 km of hard racing the De Vlaeminck group was clear of the Moser led peloton by 1 minute. The original breakaway was quickly caught and passed.

Over the top of the San Fermo , the final climb of the day and 6 km from the finish in Como , Panizza attacked the new breakaway group. Bernard Thevenet seem the strongest and was first to catch Panizza. De Vlaeminck struggle off the back as the breakaway came back together.

The long finishing stretch into Como was uneventful with no one in the breakaway tried anything until De Vlaeminck led out the sprint from 400 meters. Thevenet made his attempt for victory and came alongside the Belgian with 50 meters to go. But De Vlaeminck had timed his drive to the line well and held off Thevenet with the aggressive Panizza third. Moser led the peloton into Como and won the bunch sprint just over a minute behind.

Place

Rider

Team

Time

1

Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel)

BROOKLYN

6h26'00”

2

Bernard Thevenet (Fra)

PEUGEOT

“

3

Wladimiro Panizza (Ita)

SCIC-Colnago

“

4

Joop Zoetemelk (Hol)

GAN_Mercier

“

5

Raymond Poulidor (Fra)

GAN_Mercier

“

6

Francesco Moser (Ita)

SANSON

+1'22”

7

Frans Verbeeck (Bel)

IJBOERKE

“

8

Franco Bitossi (Ita)

ZONCA

“

9

Tino Conti (Ita)

MAGNIFLEX

“

10

Walter Riccomi (Ita)

SCIC-Colnago

“

17

Bernard Hinault (Fra)

GITANE

+1'44”

24

Felice Gimondi (Ita)

BIANCHI

“

 



253 km, October 9, 1976
1. Roger DEVLAEMINCK (Bel) 6h26'01"
2. Bernard Thevenet (Fra)
3. Wladimiro Panizza (Ita)
Start List: 136
Finishers: 32
Average Speed: 36.326 km/h
Milan-Como

 

 

 

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