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Blel Kadri wins Roma Maxima

By:
Stephen Farrand

AG2R wins Italian one day race

Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale) won the Roma Maxima race alone in the centre of the Eternal city after being in the break of the race and spending a total of 127km out front.

The Frenchman fought like a gladiator as he held off a chase group on the fast run-in to Rome and was able to cross the line alone, with the Coliseum and the Fori Imperiali ruins offering a stunning backdrop to his surprise but well–deserved victory.

Kadri finished 37 seconds ahead of Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) and Grega Bole (Vacansoleil-DCM). Pozzato threw his arms in the air thinking he had won the race but quickly realised his mistake and was left to rue yet another missed opportunity.

Kadri had won only a stage of the Route du Sud in 2010 before his success in the centre of Rome, but won after a pulling out superb performance. He had been a late replacement for a teammate for the Italian weekend of races but won in style.

"I wasn’t going to ride but Steve Chainel was ill, he couldn’t come, so the team asked if I was motivated to ride. I could have gone home this morning but I spoke to my coach and he said yes," Kadri explained in the winner's press conference.

"On the podium I thought that, sometimes, you work hard and going for it pays off. Luck doesn't often smile on you but it did this time. I’m very, very happy."

The last gladiator standing

The 180km race started with a long ride south, some tough climbs in the Roman hills, including the steep Campi di Annibale climb, and then a fast run in to the finish near the Coliseum.

Kadri was part of the five-rider break that got away after 53km of fast racing. Also in there were Andre Cardoso (Caja Rural), Christophe Premont (Crelan-Euphony), Pim Lightart (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Albert Timmer (Argos-Shimano) and they worked well together, opening a lead of up to eight-minutes.

The climbs took their toll on the break, with Movistar doing much of the work to perhaps set up Alejandro Valverde. However Kadri seized the initiative on the Campi di Annibale climb and powered on alone after dropping Cardoso and the others.

It seemed like an audacious move, with 40km still to race but the Frenchman never gave up and looked strong. A chase group of five riders emerged on the steep slopes of Campi di Annibale, including Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). However Kadri was a minute clear and managed to hold the gap all the way to the outskirts of Rome.

Pozzato and other sprinters got back onto the main peloton and then eventually caught the other four with a kilometre to go but Kadri was out of reach and able to celebrate on the paved road of the Fori Imperiali. He was the last gladiator standing after a breakaway of 127km.

"I knew I had to believe I had a chance and just gave it 100 per cent. I said if I blow or not, tant pis! The fast roads to the finish helped me but I was surprised to make it to the finish," he said, overjoyed to have won a big race.

With no race radio allowed at Roma Maxima, Pozzato and most of the chasers did not know that Kadri was still away in the finale. The Italian charged down he cobbled finishing straight and thought he'd won. He was wrong. Kadri had been stronger and was awarded the olive wreath crown as the new emperor of Roma Maxima.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 4:26:27  
2 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:37  
3 Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
4 Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox    
5 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
6 Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia    
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team    
8 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano    
9 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
10 Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha    
11 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
12 Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
13 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
14 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural    
15 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha    
16 Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
17 Francois Parisien (Can) Team Argos-Shimano    
18 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
19 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
20 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
21 Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Katusha    
22 Riccardo Chiarini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
23 Omar Fraile Matarranza (Spa) Caja Rural    
24 Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli    
25 Francesco Reda (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
26 Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling    
27 Christophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
28 Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox    
29 Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team    
30 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling    
31 Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
32 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team    
33 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
34 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
35 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia    
36 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
37 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
38 Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural    
39 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:46  
40 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:48  
41 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha 0:01:30  
42 Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano 0:02:07  
43 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:12  
44 Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
45 Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural    
46 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano    
47 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox    
48 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
49 Francisco Javier Moreno Allue (Spa) Caja Rural    
50 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
51 Gilles Devillers (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
52 Rémi Cusin (Fra) IAM Cycling    
53 Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team    
54 Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox    
55 Dalivier Ospina Navarro (Col) Colombia    
56 Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling    
57 Lawrence Warbasse (USA) BMC Racing Team    
58 Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha    
59 Michael Rodriguez Galindo (Col) Colombia    
60 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
61 Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
62 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha    
63 Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
64 Darwin Atapuma (Col) Colombia    
65 Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano    
66 Juraj Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
67 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale    
68 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
69 Nariyuki Masuda (Jpn) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
70 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
71 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida    
72 Patrick Schelling (Swi) IAM Cycling    
73 Sylvain Georges (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
74 Francesco Failli (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
75 Stefano Agostini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
76 Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni Giocattoli    
77 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
78 Fabio Taborre (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
79 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
80 Alessandro Proni (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
81 Ivan Velasco Murillo (Spa) Caja Rural    
82 Jonathan Fumeaux (Swi) IAM Cycling    
83 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
84 Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia    
85 Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox    
86 Angelo Pagani (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox    
87 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team    
88 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox    
89 Daniel Petrov (Bul) Caja Rural 0:04:51  
90 Mattia Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:06:37  
91 Fabio Duarte (Col) Colombia    
92 Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha    
93 Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda) IAM Cycling    
94 Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
95 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano    
96 Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
97 Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling    
98 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team    
99 Sebastian Lander (Den) BMC Racing Team 0:09:50  
100 Klaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
101 Jeffry Johan Romero Corredor (Col) Colombia    
102 Joeri Bueken (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
103 Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
104 Michel Koch (Ger) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
105 Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
106 Stijn Steels (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
107 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano    
108 Wesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
109 Reinier Honig (Ned) Crelan-Euphony    
110 Massimo Graziato (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
111 Fredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team    
112 Federico Canuti (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
113 Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
114 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
115 Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Caja Rural    
116 Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Argos-Shimano    
117 Donato De Ieso (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox