Gilbert wins aquatic Giro di Lombardia.

Gilbert: You bet he's smiling.

The Race of the Falling Leaves became the Race of the Falling Rainstorm.

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Drugo-Lotto) took a solo win in wet conditions for his second consecutive victory on the shores of Lake Como.

On the final 600 meters of the climb of the San Fermo, G-man simply powered away Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli). It was a great ride by Scarponi but a far better one from Gilbert who rode with his head and his legs.

When it appeared that Shark Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) would so well in the water, Gilbert went to the front on the dangerous descent of the Sormano to set the speed. Nibali went down and then it was a two man race with Scarponi. The last place on the podium went to Pablo Lastras Garcia (Caisse d’Epargne) who jumped out of the Nibali chase group to nab it.

“Today it was a difficult race, it was always cold and there was a lot of rain,” said Gilbert. “I am always good in the cold and the rain, I’m used to it.” He’s also pretty used to winning this time of the year.

Gilbert, or was we like to call him, Mr. September-October, has proved himself to be as automatic in the Fall as Tom Boonen was and now Fabian Cancellara is in the Spring. Except for some bad luck in Geelong, Gilbert has been on fire, quite the opposite from his semen-hoarding rival Filippo Pozzato.

Much has been made of the fact that this is the second season without an Italian winning a classic. Definite problem there, but the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has a bold solution: shorten Danilo di Luca’s doping ban by nine months. Hey, Valverde, get on the phone with the Spanish Federation, I hear a reduction is headed your way.

It was the final race for Armstrong domestic José Luis Rubiera Vigil of Team Radioshack. Anyone who watched the Boss win the the Alps or Pyrenees remembers it was most always Rubiera shredding the field, his jersey unzipped, his facial expression catatonic, his legs on auto-pilot. This man buried himself countless times and Armstrong wouldn’t even let him retire a few years ago. We wish him well and if anyone named Novizky pounds on your door, don’t answer.

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  • Ricola

    A lovely report, Gilbert nailed his opponents.

    And a well-deserved goodbye to Rubiera!