___Race Snippets


79th Giro di Lombardia 1985 (Italy)


By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian



Kelly’s Victory on a Modified Race Course

Organizes of the 1985 Giro di Lombardia presented revised formula for the fall classic. The traditional race course of the “Race of the Falling Leaves” was reversed. The recent finishing Town of Como, was now host to the start of the race with Milan’s Vigorelli Velodrome becoming the finish.

SPECIAL NOTE: The finish in 1985 at the venerable Vigorelli Velodrome (a 397-metre wood semi-covered velodrome in Milan) was to celebrate the track's 50th Anniversary.

Giro di Lombardia Profile in 1985 (Courtesy Gazzetta dello Sport)

SPECIAL NOTE: The race took on additional meaning with Aussie Phil Anderson’s lead in the year long Super Prestige Pernod Competition hanging in the balance. Sean Kelly (IrI) trailed Anderson by only 39 points and needed to finish 2nd or better with Anderson finishing out of the points to win the year long title.

The 171 riders left Como aggressively with Swiss rider Andre Massard riding solo into Argegio and the base of the first climb, the Intelvi Pass. Over the summit Massard was caught as the treacherous cobblestoned descent began. A crash on the descent split the field with Giuseppe Saronni joining a solid 15 rider breakaway. 

The breakaway’s lead grew to 1 minute, but with a dangerous rider like Saronni in the front group the peloton maintained a hard pace. Approaching the climb of the Esino Lario, Saronni and La Vie Claire’s Kim Andersen left the group and hit the climb 1’05” ahead of the peloton. A tired Phil Anderson struggled with the pace up the Esino Lario and trailed a 40 rider chase pack by 40 seconds. 

Near the summit of the Esino Lario Saronni and Kim Andersen were caught as Silvano Contini and Flavio Giupponi counter-attacked. Over the summit the new duo had a lead of 50 seconds. The peloton came back together in Barzio with 100 kms to the finish in Milan. Phil Anderson now had two strong teammates helping his chase but was still losing time to the leaders. The Aussie abandoned the race in Lecco

Continuing the aggressive pace, an eight rider breakaway started the Maddonna del Ghisallo, the final difficulty before Milan, with a 2’30” lead on a chase group with Sean Kelly. 

Kelly chasing hard

Entering the outskirts of Milan with 18 kms to go the chasers caught the remainder of the breakaway. 

Kelly’s teammate Claude Criquielion led Charly Mottet and Kelly into the Vigorelli Velodrome. The bell rang for the final lap of the track as Mottet jumped off the front. Quickly Kelly answered the move and sprinted past Mottet on the backstretch. The inspired Irishman crossed the finish line two lengths ahead for the 1985 Lombardia victory.

Kelly leading the sprint

SPECIAL NOTE: Phil Anderson’s worst fears were realized as Sean “King” Kelly dramatically gained enough points to win the year long Super Prestige Pernod Trophy.


GdL October 12, 1985
255 Km, Como-Milan (Vigorelli Velodrome)

1.Sean KELLY (IrI) 6h11'17"

2. Adri Van der Poel (Ned)

3. Charlie Mottet (Fra)

Starters: 171
Finishers: 32
Average Speed: 41.211 km/h


Lomb 1984

Lomb 1986

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