Italian hero Danilo Di Luca won he 95th edition of the Tour of Lombardy with an awesome display of strength to beat his breakaway companions in an epic sprint. The 25-year-old broke clear of a tired peleton in the final 30knm and bridged the gap to searhead the wining move containing Richard Virenque (Domo), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) and Giuliano Figueras (Panaria).
With the four-strong group leaving the peleton to fight it out for the minor places Di Luca set about weakening his opponents. The Cantina Tollo rider attacked on the last climb of the Largo Colle Aperto and despite its cobbled surface, was unable to stay away on the descent. However the damage was done as Virenque found the pace too hot to handle and Figueras wasted energy in the chase.
Coming into the final kilometre Boogerd knew his only chance of victory was a late attack and made his move with 800 metres remaining. But it was not enough as Di Luca powered past the Dutchman to win the race he previously came second in, back in 1999.
The final round of the world cup also saw long-time leader Erik Dekker claim the overall prize for the first time in his career. The Rabobank leader came home in 13th place to claim the title.
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 6.38.29 (38.847 km/h)
2 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
3 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank @ s .t
4 Richard Virenque (Fra) Domo-Farm Frites @ 4sec
5 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo @ 1.25
6 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank @ s.t
7 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin @ 1.26
8 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo @ 1.27
9 Nicklas Axelsson (Swe) Alessio @ 1.32
10 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) iBanesto.com @ 2.25