Roma Maxima: Pippo Pozzato celebrates 'win' - but Blel Kadri had already taken solo victory (+ video)
Italian gives 'victory' salute as he crosses the line... but AG2R man won the race half a minute earlier
Pippo Pozzato crossed the line in Rome this afternoon at the head of a group of 40 or so riders, arms aloft in celebration of his victory in the inaugural edition of the Roma Maxima one-day race - but the Lampre Merida man had no idea that AG2R's Blel Kadri had already crossed the line more than half a minute earlier to win. Grega Bole of Vacansoleil DCM finished third.
Afterwards, a very sheepish Pozzato - appearing, no doubt, in a YouTube clip near you very shortly - admitted that the absence of race radios lay behind the confusion. Inside the final kilometre, with the flamme rouge positioned right by the colosseum, the group he was in had caught a group of five men including Astana's Vincenzo Nibali.
What he hadn't realised was that they themselves had been chasing Kadri, who was out of sight in the home straight the other side of the final bend, celebrating his own, official, victory. After the race, Nibali cheekily tweeted to Pozzato that "I wanted to tell you, but there wasn't time - hahaha."
You can see Pozzato's moment of 'celebration' in the video below, which shows the final ten kilometres; Kadri hits the flamme rouge about 11 minutes in.
Kadri had been one of four riders who got away early on in what proved to be an absorbing race, attacked again to get away on his own, and dug deep to hold on in the finale.
While Roma Maxima is officially a revival of the Giro del Lazio, today marking the 75th edition, organisers RCS Sport have given it a strong identity tied in with Ancient Rome's heritage, the parcours taking in a number of sites linked to the Roman Empire and finishing on Via dei Fori Imperiali next to the archaeological sites that were once the centre of what was the greatest empire on earth.