THE TOUR OF LOMBARDY, THE COURSE OF THE FALLING LEAVES

27 May 2020 By Wijtze De Groot History

The Tour of Lombardy, which once started as Milan-Milan, is a one-day cycling classic in the north of Italy. Because this race takes place in autumn, it is nicknamed "the Classic of the falling (dead) leaves". A round which has traditionally been dominated by Italians, has also seen Dutch and Belgian success. For example, Belgians Eddy Merckx and Rik van Looy were able to come first several times.

EDDY MERCKX WINS THE TOUR OF LOMBARDY THREE TIMES

Eddy Merckx won the Tour of Lombardy three consecutive years (1971, 1972 and 1973). During these successful years he rode for the Italian cycling team Molteni. Later the victory of 1973 was withdrawn because of a positive doping test.

The Tour was won by a Belgian twelve times in total. Besides Merckx there were other famous Belgians who won the prize. Just like Merckx, Roger de Vlaeminck won the Ronde twice, this time in the jersey of Brooklyn. Rik van Looy won the 1959 Tour of Lombardy in a Faema-Guerra jersey.

DUTCH SUCCESS

Johan de Roo, better known as Jo de Roo, was the best professional cyclist in Zeeland before the era of Jan Raas. Jo de Roo won the Tour of Lombardy two years in a row, in 1962 and 1963, wearing the Saint Raphael jersey. In 1962, he also won the bicycle races Bordeaux-Paris and Paris-Tour. Because of these successes, he finished first in the world rankings. Therefore, 1962 is considered his best year as a professional cyclist. De Roo rode for teams such as Helyett, Saint Raphael and Willem II Gazelle. Besides Jo de Roo, only one other Dutchman won the Tour of Lombardy. Hennie Kuiper, wearing a DAF cycling jersey, was the first to finish the Italian classic.

FAUSTO COPPI "CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS"

With no fewer than five victories in the Tour of Lombardy, Italian Fausto Coppi has the most victories to his name. Four of his five victories were in consecutive years (1946-1949). The Tour of Lombardy is dominated by Italian riders, who have won 69 of the 112 rounds.