Dutch rider Bauke Mollema crosses the finish line to win Il Lombardia on Saturday. Photo: @TrekSegafredo/Twitter

COMO  Dutchman Bauke Mollema claimed his biggest career victory when he won the Il Lombardia one-day race in Italy, a 243-km ride from Bergamo on Saturday afternoon.

Il Lombardia is the last of five 'Monument' classics in the cycling season after Milan-Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

The 32-year-old Trek-Segafredo rider attacked 20 km from the finish and never looked back, holding off former world champion Alejandro Valverde of Spain who finished second ahead of Colombia's Tour de France champion, 22-year-old Egan Bernal of Team INEOS.

The peloton slimmed down to a group of top riders in the Sormano ascent and Mollema dropped the reduced bunch in the Civiglio climb.

Defending champion Thibaut Pinot of France did not start the race after his season ended prematurely following his withdrawal late in the Tour de France because of a thigh injury. The Frenchman suffered a tear in his quadricep.

Reuters