Chris Froome (Team Sky) crossed the finish line in Porto Sant'Elpidio with a thousand yard stare, tired after racing in the rain and hugely disappointed to have a lost the race lead and any chance of overall victory at Tirreno-Adriatico.
After getting changed on the Team Sky bus, he opted not to warm down on the rollers but shared his thoughts on a terrible day of racing in the Le Marche hills.
"That was really hard. As soon as the weather came down, the conditions got even harder and trying to control a really big group up the road like that was really hard work. The guys emptied themselves for me, they did a fantastic job all day. I just didn't have the legs in the final. I think Vincenzo Nibali took advantage of that, he did a great ride with Sagan to now go into the leader's jersey."
Froome identified several possible reasons why he struggled on the final steep climb of the stage.
"I felt I was a little over-geared and I don't think I was dressed warmly enough for the weather," he said.
"There was only really one chance to go back and get the jackets; I chose a short sleeve one and I think that was probably the wrong choice. Once it had started raining it was really too late to go back, it was going too fast to try to get back to the car."
He also admitted that he suffered in the cold after spending the winter in the warmth of the South Africa.
"I spent the whole winter in 35 degrees in Africa, and over to Oman, and I can't say my body responded too well to the cold conditions today. We just got to take a lesson out of it. We are still second on the GC at the moment, so it's not like it's a huge failure. We just have to look at it and try to find the positives and try to move on."
Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford was happy to praise Nibali on his performance. Froome also admitted he didn’t have the legs to go with him on the climb, insisting the descent was not a problem.
He also tried to keep the whole season in perspective, finding comfort in making any mistakes, and learning from them now, rather at the Tour de France in July.
"I stayed with the group I was with, it's not like I got dropped on the descent, I just didn't have the legs on the climb," he said.
"This isn't my goal to be 100 percent here. I'd rather be making these mistakes now and learning from them and going away, rectifying these things before July."
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.