Alberto Contador forced to end season before Il Lombardia

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) will not race Il Lombardia on Saturday after withdrawing from the race with flu.

After a strong showing at Milano-Torino on Wednesday, Rafal Majka heads to ‘the race of the falling leaves’ as the team’s leader, a classic that he finished third at two seasons ago, after Alberto Contador had to step down from the line-up due to illness. Leading the team’s hopes of making the selection is also Jesper Hansen, who continued his return to racing this week after a period out due to injury.

The team is completed by Roman Kreuziger and Michael Gogl, both of whom raced twice during the week, as well as Pavel Brutt, Sergio Paulinho, Pawel Poljanski, Matteo Tosatto, all of whom also have mid-week race days in the legs in Italy.

“Lombardy is the biggest race of the week. It’s a long one, at 240km, and is the last WorldTour race of the season, one with a phenomenal history and that everyone should be proud to race”, said Sport Director Lars Michaelsen.

“Our overall plan here is to save Rafal and also Jesper for the final 60-65km which will be key here, they are our best cards on paper. We’ll look to try to cover the breaks with the other guys.

“The race starts in Como and has five official climbs on the parcours, but there are others too. Before the finish, you go over the final climb, Bergamo Alta, short and steep with cobblestones through narrow town streets and a town gate, and then it’s only a few kilometres to the finish on a fast, tricky descent that includes negotiating a sharp turn through another town gate. There will be a game of who goes in the break and how big it is, but our main goal will be to go into the final with the best cards to play.”