Endura Racing riders Alexandre Blain and Rob Partridge were listed as not having finished the Tour of the Mediterranean, despite climbing all the way to the line at Mont Faron on Sunday.
The two riders battled to the top of the climb near Toulon but when they reached the finishing straight they found the road full of fans who had spilled over the barriers to watch the post-race presentations.
Before seeing the official result sheet, Endura Racing’s manager Garry Beckett told CW: “It’ll be a shame if they’re not credited with finishing but it was so chaotic at the top I’d be surprised if the organisers would have been able to tell whether they crossed the line or not.”
The fifth and final stage was won by Italian Francesco Masciarelli (Acqua & Sapone), eight seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank). Valverde clinched the race win overall.
Endura’s Evan Oliphant finished the stage 65th, in a group that was 20 minutes, with Ian Wilkinson 72nd and, according to the official results, last classified rider over the line a few seconds later.
The race had been held in freezing conditions, with snow and ice causing havoc all week. One stage was cut short because of the ice.
See Thursday’s Cycling Weekly for more details.
Tour of the Med: Stage five
1 Francesco Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone 3-17-40
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 8sec
3 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R
4 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank both same time
5 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil at 11sec
18 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R at 1-07
65 Evan Oliphant (GB) Endura Racing at 20-24
72 Ian Wilkinson (GB) Endura Racing at 20-31
DNF Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Transitions
DNF Ross Creber (GB) Endura Racing
DNF Robert Partridge (GB) Endura Racing
DNF Gary Hand (GB) Endura Racing
DNF Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing
Tour of the Med 2010: Final overall classification
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 14-55-17
2 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R at 2sec
3 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana at 5sec
4 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil at 9sec
5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana at 35sec
70 Ian Wilkinson (GB) Endura Racing at 52-25
71 Evan Oliphant (GB) Endura Racing at 56-49
Bad luck for Endura at Tour of the Med