A day to forget for neo-pro Robert Power in Il Lombardia

Orica-BikeExchange celebrated Esteban Chaves’s win in Il Lombardia, but with a funny twist. The peloton left his team-mate Robert Power behind and lost at the start in Como.

The 21-year-old neo-pro was in the biggest race of his life yesterday or at least he should have been.

After Simon Yates had come down with illness, Power was selected to replace the British rider in the eight-man line-up of the Australian team for Tour of Lombardy.

The race was scheduled to roll out at 10.50am but that was from kilometre zero rather than the time for the neutralised roll-out. Power had gotten back on the team bus after the morning warm-up and sign-on to wait for the start and was apparently on his own relaxing.

He exited the bus about to set off for the start but began to panic when he saw none of his team mates around and the road open and crowds and vehicles everywhere.

All of a sudden it dawned on him that the race had started. A frantic chase after the peloton followed through civilian traffic on the open roads. But not even such a talented and strong rider could latch onto the back of the peloton. He would end the race prematurely and be listed as a DNF, going out training instead of racing.

“I tried to get back on, but the roads had opened up,” Power said. “I tried for about 10 kilometres to get back on!

“This would’ve been my first WorldTour race. It was devastating to miss the start, but to see Chaves win is great. It’s a shame. I hope to put it behind me and move forward, to hopefully come back next year.”

“Simon previewed the race with Esteban on Thursday, but fell ill. He had a fever,” sports director, Vittorio Algeri said. “At 3pm yesterday, we decided not to let him start, so we asked Rob Power to come from Spain.

“He was ready, but he came out of the bus to start late. He had to chase partly in traffic. He slipped, he let time pass. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“He got lost at the start, which was a bit of a funny thing,” sports director Neil Stephens added. “It’s something I’ve had nightmares about, but I’ve never seen it before!”