Euskaltel Euskadi put on what at first glance looked like a disturbing team time trial showing on the Giro d'Italia's second stage on Sunday.
Inside the final kilometre, four riders suddenly realized they were all alone up front with the all-important fifth fading badly and showing no signs of recovering.
It made for farcical scenes as Samuel Sánchez and co. were forced to soft-pedal in the closing stretches, going on to lose a massive 60 seconds to main GC favourite Bradley Wiggins and his Team Sky companions as man number five, Ricardo Mestre, crossed the line alone long after his team-mates were home and dry.
It made the team a laughing stock among fans (this writer included) and television pundits alike, but it later transpired the team could hardly have done anything to avoid it.
Mestre suffered a puncture with a kilometre and half left to ride and immediately went out the back, leaving Sánchez, Gorka Verdugo, Egoi Martínez and Jorge Azanza confused when the Portuguese didn't come through for his final effort at the front.
No matter the reason, the result leaves Sánchez well adrift on GC as the peloton heads back to the mainland after the 17,4km effort against the clock between Ischia and Foria.
He ceded a minute and one second to Wiggins, 52 seconds to Intxausti, 47 seconds to Nibali, 39 to Scarponi, 36 to Hesjedal and 24 to Evans.
What makes the disappointment even harder to swallow for the Euskaltel riders is the fact they'd gotten off to a more than decent start and were, by some experts' calculations, en route to post the fourth best time at the finish.
"The riders put in a huge effort and sacrificed themselves for the team, but we just can't seem to get it right in this discipline", a downbeat Gorka Gerrikagoitia said post-race. "On this occasion, though, it's down to bad fortune".
Results (full results here):
- (1, Team Sky, 22:05)
- 22, Euskaltel Euskadi, 1:01
- (Robert Vrecer and Ioannis Tamouridis 1:20, Miguel Mínguez 2:31 and Pablo Urtasun 3:16)