Limited race information due to the small gap between the break and the bunch and the high-speed return to Rome left riders in the dark about the attack by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and so the bunch hesitated in their chasing. Appollonio was desperate to contact Pozzovivo to advise him not to work because was he ready for a bunch sprint behind.
The radio silence meant that everyone was forced to race on instinct and improvisation, without their directeur sportif calling the shots as he watched the race on television.
Instead of playing a tactical game, knowing his fast-finishing teammate was in the chase group behind, Pozzovivo sportingly did his bit to help Valverde stay away and was left with little reward for his efforts after being passed in sight of the line. Appollonio won the sprint for second behind Valverde but was gutted not to have been sprinting for victory.
He did not blame his diminutive teammate but rued the lack of race radios.
"I had a lot of riders up there ready to work for me but unfortunately Pozzovivo didn’t know I was there for the sprint and so didn't play a tactical game with Valverde," Appollonio explained to the huddle of journalists at the finish in Rome.
"If he'd known I was in the chase group, he could have refused to work. But that's racing. There's a tiny difference between winning and losing and between losing and winning."
Appollonio knew that Pozzovivo had attacked because that was part of Ag2r-La Mondiale's race strategy agreed before the race.
"I'd said I felt good but I couldn't expect that the whole team and especially a rider of Pozzovivo's calibre would work for me," he said.
"I fractured my shoulder a month ago, I felt good today but couldn't be sure to make it over the climbs. In fact I only got back on 10km after the climbs.
"With race radios the race tactics would have been a lot easier but perhaps it was more interesting without them. But this was a definite example that they make a difference in races."
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.