Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team goes all in for Il Lombardia

As autumn sets in and leaves start to fall, the world of professional cycling gears up for Il Lombardia, the fifth and final Monument of the UCI road calendar. On Saturday, October 7th, Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team will take on this epic one-day race, along a 238-kilometer hilly route, as it winds its way from Como to Bergamo, Italy. 

6 October 2023

With over 4,400 meters of elevation gain, it’s a monumental test of endurance and skill and we’re bringing a strong seven-rider squad to face the challenge.

Gianluca Brambilla will be racing Il Lombardia for the 12th time in his career and will be the team captain.

“I did this race several times and did some solid results a couple of times. It was a different finish in those occasions but Lombardia is always a super hard and important race. It’s the last Monument of the year and it takes place in Italy, which makes it extra special. We have all the fans on the road cheering for you. I hope I can recover well from the latest racing block and achieve a good performance on Saturday,” said Brambilla.

The experienced 36-year-old Italian has previously finished in the top-10 of this gruelling Monument and knows what it takes to stay up there with the best.

“Our team goal is to do a good race and try to be at the front with the best riders. I believe Passo di Ganda will be a crucial point of the race. It’s a hard, long climb of around 9kms that is made especially hard because we climb It after 200kms. I hope we have a good day out and show our colours in this special race.” concluded Brambilla.


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Damien Howson racing at Tour of Britain.
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Joining Gianluca Brambilla in the the seven-rider roster is countryman Walter Calzoni. The 22-year-old neo-pro has impressed in this final part of the season, collecting two top-10 placings in two Italian classics last month. He will be a protected rider and vying for a good result in the first Monument of his career.

Bringing additional climbing firepower to our squad in Italy are Australian Damien Howson and Brit Mark Donovan who achieved great performances at the Tour of Britain last month, finishing third and fifth in the General Classification, respectively.

Supporting our elite group of climbers will be Ethiopian neo-pro Negasi Haylu Abreha, Polish Kamil Małecki and American Corey Davis.

The 2023 edition of Il Lombardia will depart from the picturesque town of Como and just 30km into the race, the first climb looms – the Madonna del Ghisallo. This 8-kilometer ascent, though not excessively steep at 4%, is a sacred challenge. At its peak rests the Church of Madonna del Ghisallo, the patron saint of cycling.

From here the peloton faces a relentless succession of climbs, each more demanding than the last. The Roncola Alta, a 9.4-kilometer ascent with gradients of 6.6%, and the Berbenno climb, 6.8 kilometers at 4.6%, provide the first test to the peloton’s climbing abilities. But it’s the formidable Passo Della Crocetta (11 kilometers, 6.2%) and the punishing Zambla Alta (9.5 kilometers, 3.5%) that will separate the contenders from the pretenders. These two ascents deliver a brutal one-two punch, sapping the strength and determination of even the most seasoned cyclists.

As the peloton continues its relentless ascent, the Passo di Ganda (9.2 kilometers, 7.3%) will be a true leg-breaker, where only the strongest will survive. It’s a defining moment in the race, where riders must dig deep into their reserves to push on.

Finally, the Colle Aperto awaits, a short but fiercely steep cobbled climb (1.1 kilometers, 7.9%). It serves as the dramatic crescendo to the thrilling The Race of the Falling Leaves’.

It will be the fourth Monument of the season for Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team after successfully concluding Milano-Sanremo, Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix.

Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team – Il Lombardia line-up:

Negasi Haylu Abreha (ETH)
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA)
Walter Calzoni (ITA)
Corey Davis (USA)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Kamil Małecki (POL)
Damien Howson (AUS)

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@Chris Auld