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‘The race wasn’t even on my programme until Friday," Kadri revealed.

Photo: Sirotti

AG2R CITROEN TEAM

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ROMA MAXIMA

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03.03.2013 @ 19:25 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

After a day when some of the giants of Italian cycling showed themselves, Roma Maxima was won today by the giant-killing Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale), against the magnificent backdrop of the Coliseum, after a breakaway that lasted, all told, 127km.
 

Kadri crossed the finish line in Via dei Fori Imperiali 37 seconds ahead of the chasing group of sprinters. On the cobblestones of central Rome, Filippo Pozzato led the group home to win the bunch sprint, and celebrated, believing he had won the race.
 

The Frenchman had joined a 5-man breakaway after 52 kilometres. He attacked on the Salita dei Cappuccini, and rode alone to the finish line. Behind him, Vincenzo Nibali joined a counter attack with four others, but they failed to cross to the imperious Kadri.

After the race, Kadri spoke to the press:

Victory came as a complete surprise for the winner since the race hadn’t even appeared on his itinerary, ‘The race wasn’t even on my programme until Friday, when my team-mate, Steve Chainel, fell ill. I could have gone home after Strade Bianche, but the team asked me if I wanted to ride and I said, ‘Yes.’”
 

Kadri acknowledged that the decisive move was made on the spur of the moment, “I have to get into breakaways in order to win. First, my team-mate Montaguti tried, and then I managed to get into the group of four. On the Salita dei Cappuccini, I didn’t intend to attack alone. There were still 37 km to go. But, on the spur of the moment, I went alone. The Caja Rural rider [Cardoso] stayed with me for a while, and then I dropped him on the pavé.’


Once on his own, Kadri decided to go all out, “I believed in my attack. I said to myself, ‘Give it 100%. If you blow up, too bad.’ I knew there was a group of chasers, but I thought it was the remains of the breakaway, not Nibali. The profile of the finale helped me hold off the peloton.”


On the return of Roma Maxima (formerly known as Giro del Lazio), Kadri said, “It’s a beautiful race. The middle section reminded me of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The race start and finish is incredible. I’ve never been to Rome before, and it is really magical.”

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