2011 Il Lombardia

For the 105th year, the famed Il Lombardia (formerly known as the Giro di Lombardia) will once again close out the European cycling season this Saturday. One of cycling’s Classics or Monuments, the “Race of the Falling Leaves” will be moving to an earlier date next year (no word on if the nickname will change), no longer serving as the exclamation point to the UCI WorldTour circuit. Last year, strongman Philippe Gilbert dominated a decimated field on a cold and wet day, winning Il Lombardia for the second year in a row:

This year Gilbert is back for a try at his third straight win, but he’ll face a host of cycling stars looking to close out their season with a prestigious win. He’ll also have to tackle a new race course, featuring tough new climbs and a new finish in the town of Lecco, but still featuring the famous Madonna del Ghisallo climb (spiritual home of the patron saint of cycling):

But, since this is the end of a long racing season, we thought that perhaps the riders might need some inspiration to really liven up Il Lombardia, so we’re sharing this video of no-handed finish line salutes, just in case the victor wants to add some signature flair (although Juan Antonio Flecha already has dibs on the bow and arrow salute):

You can catch Il Lombardia on Universal Sports this Saturday – and if you see a “cup of tea” salute from the victor, now you’ll know why.

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