By Barry Boyce,


Top 20 All Time Major Classics #14

Giro di Lombardia 1988: Mottet's Risky Attack

CR Timeline 1988

The “Race of the Falling Leaves” signals the last big race of the season. The final event on the World Cup calendar, Lombardia offered riders one last chance to salvage a poor season.

Laurent Fignon started the 1988 season with a victory in Milan-San Remo, the first big race of the season. But other than several stage wins in the Tour de France the French riders struggled for any major success all year. System-U's Charly Mottet entered the fall races after a mid-summer forced rest due to illness. In late September Mottet came into great fitness and won the Gran Prix des Nations (an individual time trial). He had great confidence at the start of the Giro di Lombardia.


Giro di Lombardia Profile (Courtesy Gazzetta dello Sport)

The autumn Classic left the City of Como at the head of the Lake and proceeded on the spectacular hills and roads around the twin Lakes of Como and Lecco to Milan.

The Town of Argegno (Courtesy Travel Plan it)

All of France cheered when Mottet made the first successful breakaway of the race with Belgian Luc Roosen. The pair opened a 3'15” lead when Roosen punctured on the climb of the Valpiana. Mottet was faced to make a quick decision. “Go or wait”, with more than 60 km to the finish and the peloton in hot pursuit waiting for Roosen wasn't an option.

Alone over the summit of the final climb Mottet gambled and started a long 55 km “individual time trial” to Milan . Mottet's talent as a time trailer was well known and he knew all of France was watching. His motivation was high. Italian Gianni Bugno led the hard chasing peloton as Mottet's advantage began to fall.

As the race approached Milan it was Frenchman Charly Mottet against Italian Gianni Bugno. Mottet was on a mission. If history holds true Mottet would fade and Bugno would sprint home the winner. Only one Frenchman had won Lombardia in the last 20 years (Bernard Hinault twice: 1979 & 1984). Slowly Mottet's advantage continued to fall.

Onto the streets of Milan Bugno could not close on Mottet. The gallant Frenchman held a solid effort and a 1'40” time gap. The Giro di Lombardia victory was his. The very popular Charly Mottet had scored a huge victory in the “Race of the Falling Leaves” and gave France a successful end of the year boost it needed.

Lombardia October 15, 1988
260 Km Como to Milan

1. Charly MOTTET (Fra) 6h49'05"

2. Gianni Bugno (Ita) +1'40"

3. Mariano Lejarreta (Spa) +1'45"

Starters: 177
Finishers: 35
Average Speed: 38.134 km/h


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