Twenty metres from the finish in Fuiggi, Alessandro Petacchi looked to have another stage victory in the bag. He then stopped pedalling.
Spain's Francisco Ventoso couldn't believe his luck. He had done all the hard work in pegging back Danilo Di Luca; now his main rival for the win was gifting it to him on a plate.
None of us could fathom what we were seeing. Ale-jet is a rider so ruthless, the idea of him throwing in the towel (unless in the mountains) is totally foreign. We're used to seeing Concorde, but here we got Ryan Air.
So, why did Petacchi crumble? As hard as it is to get into the mind of any Italian man, Saddles offers a few possible explanations...
1. He got it wrong. We're all mortals - and perhaps Petacchi thought he was further ahead of Ventoso, which might explain the sideways glance at the death.
2. He had a mechanical failure. Already on Twitter people are claiming that the Italian's right pedal clip came loose. But are you telling Saddles that someone as experienced as Petacchi doesn't know how to cycle 20 metres with one foot out of the stirrups?
3. Petacchi had 100 euro on Ventoso at the bookies. While the Italian was 5/4 favourite for the win, one of Saddles' Twitter chums informs him Ventoso was a 150-1 long shot. That's quite a lot of money to be won.
4. He was ordered via race radio to pull up because his Lampre directeur sportif had money on Ventoso (highlighting the real reason why so many big cheeses oppose the race radio ban...).
5. Petacchi wished to make a protest against his team directors for being forced to ride all day in support of Michele Scarponi (this treasure comes courtesy of Eurosport commentator David Harmon - and it would be a serious option were it possible to believe that Petacchi could ever have such complex thought processes).
6. Ale-jet had some 11th hour cramps which needed seeing to not in one second's time but right then at that instant.
7. He felt sorry for Ventoso never having won a stage on the Giro - besides, aren't 22 victories quite enough?
8. Not being able to afford his own lofty price tag, Petacchi actually had the far cheaper Ventoso in his office Fantasy Giro team.
9. He was worried about the obligatory doping control which would be required of the winner, having only recently gone for a call of nature in the closing stages of the race.
10. Or could it be quite simply that the asthma sufferer was plain and simple out of puff?
Didn't you see Ventoso at the finish - the guy got of his bike, was sick all over the floor, then sat down in that very same spot. Now even if you're pretty shattered, you don't plant your backside down on top of the contents of your lunch musette; Ventoso was clearly beyond knackered. And as for Petacchi, he was as red as his points jersey and as breathless as an Euskaltel team doctor during Paris-Roubaix.
Sometimes you just hit the wall. It may have happened within spitting distance of the finish line, but there's no reason to discount the simple explanation that Petacchi, having sprinted up the steep drag with all the vim of a cheetah on caffeine, could do no more and his ageing body packed in accordingly.
Were it you or Saddles (or even Mark Cavendish), the collapse would have happened (did happen) a hell of a lot earlier. We're just used to seeing Petacchi make light work of such situations.