Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has won the Italian classic ‘Roma Maxima’ (né Giro del Lazio) race, contested over 195 kilometres.

Valverde’s victory comes as no surprise. He has started the season like a rocket, as can be seen by his successes in Andalusia, where he won three stages and the general, and in Murcia. With the ‘Roma Maxima’, he has celebrated six victories so far this season.

The man from Murcia made it quite clear on Saturday when he came in third in the Strade Bianchi (won by Michal Kwiatkowski) that he is in fine form, although on this occasion he needed a little help from his teammates.

The Italian classic was a duel between Spaniards and Italians. Things tipped in favour of the Spanish in the final straight, thanks to Valverde’s raw power. The Italian Pozzovivo kept up with him until the very end, but at the last gasp gave in and was swept up by the peloton and finished fifth.

On winning the race, Valverde has obtained his first ever victory on Italian soil in his entire career.

“I attacked at just the right moment. I didn’t really have any other options. I knew that it was going to be hard, but Pozzovivo and I worked well together. We understood each other, but in the end I attacked to arrive at the finishing line alone, although I had the option of the sprint”, Valverde said.