Roma Maxima / Paris-Nice (prol.)
Chaotic finish in Roma Maxima grants Kadri (ALM) the win as Movistar Team found no prize to their collective work; Visconti finishes 7th, makes first bunch alongside Valverde
Movistar Team was unable to complete the great work initially done in the Roma Maxima, the Italian race replacing the traditional Giro del Lazio and won by Frenchman Blel Kadri (ALM) after a 180km trek which he covered almost entirely into the day’s early break, following hard fight in the opening stages -51km covered into the first hour of racing-. The front group reached a massive eight minutes of advantage, with several teams trying to cut the advantage until the squad directed by Chente García Acosta took a strong push at the front with Alex Dowsett -struck until that point due to several mechanic problems and a crash with no consequences- and Pablo Lastras.
The last climb of the day, Rocca di Papa / Campi d’Annibale, saw a dangerous attempt by five men, including Vincenzo Nibali (AST) and Mauro Santambrogio (VIN), which got pursued by no other but Alejandro Valverde, into a second move that would later be chased down by the bunch with around 15k from the finish. Up-front, Kadri left his companions behind and made a great final solo favoured by lack of cooperation and time gaps at the main field. Giovanni Visconti, who joined Valverde into the first bunch -Ventoso, who struggled into the last ascent; Madrazo and Cobo came into the second one-, made the best performance from the Blues with his 7th spot.
Uneventful prologue in Paris-Nice; notable start by Herrada and Costa
Well northwards, in the town of Houilles, the 71st edition of Paris-Nice started today with a technical, short prologue (2.9km) where French track specialist Damien Gaudin (EUC) made his abilities worth a first yellow jersey in the ‘Race to the Sun’. Movistar Team, directed on French soil by José Luis Arrieta and José Luis Laguía, had no troubles in this complicated start and put Jesús Herrada -12th, after making the day’s top five for most of the ITT- and Rui Costa (15th) within the fastest. All Blue riders are less than 15 seconds behind the first leader before a first road stage -195km from Saint-Germain-en-Laye to Némours- where crosswinds will be the only difficulty into a parcours lacking any noticeable mountains.