It was the long overdue showdown overshadowed by a long overdue win.
All the hype surrounding the second stage of the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico concerned the much-delayed first meeting of 2013 between Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).
Instead, it was another former member of the HTC team who took the spoils.
Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE), a world class sprinter who last won a stage of a WorldTour race last May, left the Manx Missile and the Gorilla trailing in his wake.
Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) was another to lose out to an Australian who would not be denied.
Here are the key moments of the stage, captured by official UCI WorldTour photographer, Stefano Sirotti.
For a sprinter, Mark Cavendish is strangely familiar with race leaders’ jerseys
Andy Schleck, once a wearer of the maillot jaune of the Tour de France, adopts a now-familiar disconsolate expression
Lotto Belisol and Omega Pharma-QuickStep hit the front in the closing stages for Greipel and Cavendish
The efforts of the Belgian teams were in vain, however. Goss was one of two Orica-GreenEDGE riders to celebrate victory on the day (Michael Albasini won stage four of Paris-Nice)
Italian legend and former world hour record holder, Francesco Moser, joined Cavendish on the podium