91st Giro di Lombardia 1997 (Italy)


By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian




Blazing Speeds

The Giro di Lombardia was tenth and final World Cup race of the 1997. There were six riders within reach of the overall win. The WC leader was Danish rider Rolf Sorensen with 275 points, followed by:

Michele Bartoli (Ita) 240 points
Davide Rebellin (Ita) 214 points
Andrea Tafi (Ita) 212 points
Andrei Tchmil (Ukr) 212 points
Maximilian Sciandri (Ita) 183 points

With the Race of the Falling Leaves offering 100 points for the victory, all had a chance of winning. The Dane was present in street clothes for the race because of a crash and a season ending fractured hand. The race was wide open.

Through the tough climbs of the Colle Brianza and Colle Valpiana the contenders ignored several early breakaways, they seemed intent on watching each other very closely.

With 30 kms to go Michele Bartoli latched onto a Laurent Jalabert attack on the Colle Gallo. Italians Paolo Lanfranchi and Francesco Casagrande also caught the pair on the descent. The 4 riders quickly gain a minute on the fading peloton. 

A very fit Laurent Jalabert, winner of Milan-Turin four days earlier, won the three-up sprint in Bergamo for the 1997 Giro di Lombardia victory. 

The Tour of Lombardy adopted a new race route between Varese and Bergamo in 1995. Since that time the races average speed has increase yearly.  Jalabert's winning average speed in 1997 of 43.012 km/h was the fastest yet (Gianni Faresin in 1995 42.116 km/h and Andrea Tafi in 1996 42,642 km/h).

SPECIAL NOTE: At the finish Michele Bartoli sat up and let the other three contest the sprint.  He was secure with his fourth place points and a season long win of the 1997 World Cup.

GdL October 18, 1997
250 Km, Varese-Bergamo

1. Laurent JALABERT (Fra) 5h48’44”

2. Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita)

3. Francesco Casagrande (Ita)

Starters: 173
Finishers: 56
Average Speed: 43.012 km/h

Lomb 1996

Lomb 1998

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