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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) claimed a narrow victory in the Roma Maxima on Sunday, just a single second ahead of a charging peloton.
Valverde and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) were off the front in the final 10km, chased by Matteo Rabottini (Yellow Fluo) at 38 with a second chase at 47.
With 5km to go Rabottini was barely hanging onto third while the peloton swept in a second chase and closed in on him.
Valverde, fresh off his third-place finish in Saturday’s Strade Bianche, was on the front in the final 2km, and Pozzovivo was gambling, skipping his pulls as the Coliseum came into view.
At the red kite the chase was just a couple dozen seconds behind, having snuffed a last-ditch attack by Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing).
Inside 300 meters the bunch was charging down on the two leaders as Valverde drove toward the line. But they were too late — the Spaniard just had time to raise one hand in triumph as he crossed the line, while Pozzovivo saw his second place disappear in the bunch sprint.
Davide Appollonio (Ag2r) deprived his teammate of the runner-up spot with Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) third.