Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) quickly ate an energy bar before descending from the finish of stage 4 on Tirreno-Adriatico on his bike and later tweeted that he had lost count of how many Snickers and Cokes he had consumed to make it through the 244km stage.
Yet despite his unorthodox fuelling regime, the 42-year-old seemed fresh at the finish and was able to critically analyse the stage better than most.
"It was a hard stage," he told Cyclingnews.
"To a normal person the last climb perhaps looks like a big climb but it's actually not that steep and we used the big chain ring for most of the way up."
"The climb was really fast and a lot of guys are good on climb like that. There was a block headwind on much of the climb too. We were doing 25km/h and Quick Step had some riders there, so you'd need to do 35km/h to get away."
"It eventually blew up but by then nobody had any power left, everybody was done. You could see it with the attacks, everyone was creeping. It was like 'Oh, I can't follow that. It was only five watts more but I can't do it."
Horner finished ninth on the stage, 11 seconds behind Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), who danced on the pedals in the final kilometre to win and take a precious 10-second time bonus. Horner raced more cautiously, staying on the wheels into the headwind that blow down the climb. He is now 11th overall, 1:06 behind race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).
He explained that he needs real mountain stages, packed with climbs, to be able to emerge and create a real selection.
"I need something like Catalunya or Basque Country, where it's climb after climb, then I can get better and better and the other guys get tired. When it's one climb all these guys can do it," he said, insisting that his form is good despite some issues getting used to Italian food.
"My form's good. I've had a little bit of a problem adjusting to the food. It's a little bit different to what I'm used to so it's a bit complicated," he said.
"The forms okay and we'll see if we can make it better. I'll recover from this race and then hopefully get better. Let’s hope so."
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