Lampre-Merida rider thought he had won the sprint
Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) threw his arms in the air thinking he had won the Roma Maxima race, only to discover a few seconds later that Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale) had managed to stay away and win the first edition of the new-look Italian race.
After chasing hard to catch the main peloton and then a five-rider chase group inside the last kilometre, Pozzato was unaware that Kadri was still away and was convinced he was sprinting to win.
"I'm gutted not to win but it happens…." Pozzato said.
"When I got back on I thought there was only the five guys up front an so when we caught them and fought out the sprint, I put my arms up because I thought I'd won. When I saw that my soigneur was hiding instead of celebrating, I knew there was something wrong…"
With race radios not allowed in UCI Europe Tour level races, the riders competing in Roma Maxima had to rely on the official motorbike blackboard and their own teams for race information.
"Most sports are happy to accept the advantages of new technology, but cycling likes to ignore them. But this isn't the moment for a debate about radios. I made a mistake. When I got back on, I asked Cunego who was up front and he told me Nibali was in a move. They sat up with a kilometre to go, I felt strong and so went or it."
Pozzato could only laugh at his own mistake and accept some ironic congratulations from his teammates. He had at least shown some form and a fast finish as Milano-Sanremo approaches.
"The only consolation is that my form is good and so now I'm going to work even harder at Tirreno-Adriatico and hopefully get a result at Milano-Sanremo, and the Belgian classics," he said, still shaking his head in a mix of embarrassment and disbelief.
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