Former RadioShack stagiaire Evgeny Shalunov decided to venture out solo at the short but very sweet GP Liberazione in Rome on Friday and his gamble came up spades. The Russian Shalunov with Lokosphinx was apart of a breakaway that went away with 8 laps left in the race and with 25 kilometers to go, went solo.
Behind, an amalgam of Italian teams along with some like Radenska were chasing in vain behind the solo Russian, who had previously won the UCI 1.1 Vuelta a la Rioja in 2012 in a similar fashion. Shalunov was able to make it over the bump on the circuit for the last time with a gap of over 30 seconds and he was able to hold that to the line, where he celebrated with reaching up towards the sky. 25 seconds in arrears, the peloton came in lead by Colpack's Simone Consonni ahead of Liam Bertazzo (Mg.Kvis-Trevigiani) and Paolo Simion (Mastromarco).
Shalunov is the 2nd Eastern European rider in a row to win the famed Rome race, which commemorates the fall of Mussolini's fascist republic in 1945. Far Right-wing Italians, including Francesco Moser and the Lega Nord party, are quick to criticize the race because of the race allowing Eastern Bloc riders to race as early as the late 60's and see it as a veneration of Communism. In any event, the race is one of the only chances we get to have a proper cycle race in the heart of Rome and it should be cherished for what it is, a celebration of cycling.
More to follow...