Italy's Andrea Sanvido of Team Parolin-Radio Birikina was the fastest in a three-man sprint to clinch victory in the 57th "GP "Liberazione", an amateur race held every year in Rome, since 1946, to commemorate the day which saw the end of World War II in Italy.
A race featuring past winners such as Gianni Bugno in 1985 and Dimitri Konyshev some years later, and podium place getters including Mario Cipollini (runner-up in 1988) and Francesco Moser, while last year's winner is a man the most competent cycling followers already know: Sardinian sprinter Alberto Loddo.
At the end of this year's edition, disputed over 138 km. (a 6-km. city circuit to be repeated 23 times), the 21-year-old fair-haired rider from Padua outsprinted Ivan Ravaioli (Zalf Fior) and Poland's Mariusz Wiesiak (Pacific Da Ver Nestlè), to take the race honours in the spectacular Caracalla Therms scenery.
The race was marked by several breakawyas and simple break attempts, with a 25-strong group that managed to escape with 13 laps to go and stayed clear for some seven laps. As soon as the peloton regruoped, other ridres made their tries, all of them unsuccessful.
The decisive move came with about 2 laps to go, when both Sanvido, in his fourth year as Under 23, and Wiesiak made the gap. The peloton was about to bring them back, as it was only 50 meters down at some moment, but missed the right chance, and the lead kept increasing to up to more than 20", as the main favorites actually looked like being more interested in looking after each other than catching the leaders.
Just a few riders made some serious solo attempts to bridge the gap, but the only successful one came from Ravaioli, who got clear from the not-so-chasing bunch with some 2 km. to go, and thanks to his powerful action joined the leaders just after the last km.'s red triangle.
Ravaioli, a fellow townsman of former US postal (disgraced) rider Giampaolo Mondini, seemed to be the hot favorite for the final sprint, but as he said (in tears) afterwards, he had spent too many energies not only bridging the gap to the leaders, but also regaining the peloton after a puncture forced the man to change his bike and made him lose some precious time.
So in the end it was Sanvido (who after the race said "I'm happy, I still can't believe I won") who came around the man from Faenza and took an unexpected victory, while his team's appointed leader Pietropolli only ranked fifth, with 21-year-old Polish rider Wiesiak (highly-placed in the U23 World Cup rankings) taking third.
RESULTS - TOP 10 PLACES:
1. Andrea Sanvido (Ita - Team Parolin-Radio Birikina), 138 km in 3h21'30" (41,092 km/h)
2. Ivan Ravaioli (Ita - Zalf Desirée Fior) - st
3. Mario Wiesiak (Pol - Pacific Da Ver Nestlé) - st
4. Andrea Rinaldini (Ita - GS Impruneta)
5. Daniele Pietropolli (Ita - Team Parolin-Radio Birikina)
6. Di Nucci (Ita)
7. Yuryi Ivanov (Ukr - Cycling Team Casprini)
8. Mickaël Mille (Fra - VC Roubaix)
9. Manuel Mori (Ita)
10. Cristian Tosoni (Ita)
Another important competition, this time reserved to bolth U23 and Elite-2 riders, is going to start tomorrow: it's the "Giro delle regioni" (Tour of the Regions"), a 6-stage race, second only to the "Baby Giro", and with past winner such as Giuliano Figueras, (another) former U23 World Champion Leonardo Giordani, Fabio Malberti and current Mapei's rider Graziano Gasparre. And Yaroslavl "the Merckx of the Amateurs" Popoych in last year's edition. Of course the "Daily Peloton" will be delivering you news and results of this contest too.