While Lance Armstrong was forced to pull out of the Circuit de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire and team manager Johan Bruyneel also had to stay in his hotel room due to a similar strain of gastroenteritis, Team RadioShack enjoyed its second season win with Tiago Machado at the 6.8km individual time trial in Angers.
With a two-second margin, the Portuguese champion preceded Luis Leon Sanchez, who kept his command of the overall classification. Vuelta a España stage winner Anthony Roux from Française des Jeux finished third at six seconds.
"This is unbelievable," said an ecstatic Machado. "Because since I've gotten a new bike, I haven't been able to corner well. I've often been afraid, but I've been training at home with [former US Postal rider and now RadioShack directeur sportif] José Azevedo, and here is the result! It's like a dream."
Although Machado is Portugal's most promising prospect alongside Rui Costa from Caisse d'Epargne, his name wasn't familiar outside his home country until he joined RadioShack. Until today, the new American squad had logged one victory, with Sébastien Rosseler's stage win at the Volta ao Algarve.
"I got two second and two third places, but you also need luck for winning," said Machado, who finished third at the Volta ao Algarve and the Criterium International, with a second place at the end of a stage of both races.
"I'm feeling better race after race," he said. "I've time trialed much better today than last week at the Criterium International. I hope to improve my position in the next two stage races I'll take part in, which are the Vuelta Castilla y Leon and the Tour de Romandie.
"For now, at the Circuit de la Sarthe, I don't know how if there's a way to beat Sanchez on the GC. I prefer to enjoy the moment before making any further plan."
Machado isn't expecting to ride the Tour de France this year. After finishing second to Pierrick Fedrigo in stage 1 of the Criterium International at the top of the Ospedale, Bruyneel had said firmly,"It's impossible that Tiago will ride the Tour de France this year."
"If Bruyneel says so, I trust him because he's the world's best directeur sportif," said Machado in Angers. "To ride the Tour de France or not, I have no stress about that."
Machado is keeping his position as one of RadioShack's top performers of 2010 in perspective. "I'm not the best rider in the team," he said. "There is Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Andreas Klöden, Yaroslav Popovych, etc. They are waiting for July to perform. If you win the Tour de France, the rest of the season gets forgotten.
"If Lance had been able to participate today, I would have finished second," added the modest Machado.