Joaquim Rodriguez was left bitterly disappointed at the finish of the UCI Road World Championships in Florence after seeing the rainbow jersey slip through his fingers in the dying metres.
Losing like this is stupid.
Rodriguez had a slender advantage inside the final two kilometres, and looked set to win the world title as Rui Costa (Portgual), Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) and team-mate Alejandro Valverde played out a stalemate in the chase behind. But Rui Costa, who had struggled on the final climb of the 270km race only to fight to remain in the hunt, had other plans.
He jumped away from Nibali out of a corner with 1.5km to race, and Valverde, in a moment of inattention failed to get on to the Portuguese's wheel.
A tiring Rodriguez was caught with 500 metres to go, and though the sprint was close, Rui Costa took the title. Rodriguez however was none too pleased with team-mate Valverde who he believed had been complicit in allowing Rui Costa to get away, denying him of the win.
"Losing like this is stupid," said Rodriguez, told reporters after the race.
"We had the numbers, we were the strongest, we should not have lost."
Valverde denied any such co-operation with Rui Costa, citing a lack of legs. But Rodriguez remains unconvinced. He did not look at Valverde throughout the post-race press conference and was visibly upset a the finish.
"This (silver) medal does not count for anything, I wanted to win," said Rodriguez, who finished third overall in the Tour de France. "I know I could have."
Spanish national team coach Javier Minguez believes that Rodriguez, would have and "should" have won the title had Valverde kept Rui Costa in his sights.
"We should have won the world title," said Spanish team coach Javier Minguez.
"You can't let Rui Costa go. Rodriguez had the title in his hands and Nibali was dead."
The tactical mess incidentally echoes the last time Rodriguez was on the podium, when a stellar 2009 team made a muck of the Worlds finish in Mendrisio despite superior numbers.