A crash on the descent of the Piano Roseto may have held up Cadel Evans (BMC) and effectively ended any hopes that he had of posting a competitive result on Tirreno-Adriatico's fifth stage, but the Australian admits that the misfortune wasn't the only factor at play in his disappointing result.
Evans, defending champion, finished 10:36 behind stage winner Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and now sits 11:17 down on the time of overall leader and former teammate Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan), well out of contention for the 2012 edition of the Italian race.
Evans, who used Tirreno-Adriatico as his launch pad towards his Tour de France victory in 2011, said that his current form was also to blame for Sunday's poor showing.
"My legs are not as good as they were last year as this time," the 35-year-old said. "I'm sure they're getting better and there will be better days. But the race is much harder than last year, so that is amplifying the difference between the ones who are in shape and the rest of us."
The BMC team has been on the back foot since the opening stage team time trial where they lost nearly a minute to winner's GreenEdge, having been buffeted by windy conditions.
BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said another disappointment on Sunday was a miscommunication that kept George Hincapie from taking his own chance on the final climb.
"This was like one of the hardest stages of the Tour de France or the Giro d'Italia," Baldato said. "George and Greg Van Avermaet and Michael Schär were in the front group of 30 after the crash but stopped and waited for Cadel. It was good of them to wait, but George was having a really good day and could have finished in the top 20 for sure."