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Valverde, Cunego amongst top names in new race
Alejandro Valverde and Damiano Cunego will be amongst the big names at the start of the Roma Maxima on Sunday, March 3, a new race which will take in all the glories of modern and ancient Rome, ending up with an “incredible finish on the Via del Fori Imperiali, in the shadow of the Coliseum.”
Sixteen teams will be at the start in the centre of Rome, including nine WorldTour teams. Italian riders in the race will include Cunego (Lampre Merida), Enrico Gasparotto (Astana), Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini- Selle Italia) and former national champion Giovanni Visconti (Movistar).
Many sprinters will look for their chance, but the course through the hilly city will prove a challenge. The win is expected to go to a sprinter “who can mix it up on the steep climbs of the Roman hills.”
According to the race organiser's press release, “The start will be on the Via dei Fori Imperiali in the centre of Rome, before joining the Appian Way. There will then be loops through the Roman Castels – Rocca Massima, Rocca Priora, Campi di Annibale, Albano Laziale and Cappuccini,” before finishing up in the shadow of the Coliseum.
The Coliseum was also the site of the finish line of the time trial which closed the 2009 Giro d'Italia, with Iganatus Konovalovas of Cervelo TestTeam taking the stage and Denis Menchov of Rabobank the overall title, despite a crash in the closing kilometer of the time trial.
The teams and some of the riders in the race are: AG2R (Carlos Betancur, Manuel Belletti); Androni Giocattoli (Mattia Gavazzi, Emanuele Sella); Astana (Enrico Gasparotto, Paolo Tiralongo) Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox (Enrico Battaglin); BMC (Steven Cummings); Caja Rural (Amets Txurruka), Cannondale (Lucas Haedo); Colombia (Darwin Atapuma); Crelan-Euphony (Frederic Amorison); IAM (Marcel Arreger); Katusha (Giampaolo Caruso); Lampre-Merida (Damiano Cunego), Movistar (Alejandro Valverde, Giovanni Visconti), Argos-Shimano (Johannes Fröhlinger); Vacansoleil-DCM (Marco Marcato) and Vini Fantini – Selle Italia (Oscar Gatto).