Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) finished stage five at the Tour of Qatar tired and sweaty but had little to show for his huge effort during the 142km stage.
The American sprinter opted to stay in the 14-rider echelon that broke way in the last 20km of the stage. It initially looked like the right tactic. But he lost out when the move was chased down by Quick Step and Team Sky and caught a kilometre from the finishline.
Farrar had a go in the sprint but his legs were heavy and tired and he was only 10th at the line, behind winner Tom Boonen and many riders he usually beats in sprints.
"That's bike racing. You have to gamble if you want to win. Unfortunately today it didn't work out," Farrar said as he rode back to the Garmin team car ready for the long drive back to the race
"It was a pity because I was pretty happy with my odds in that front group. But when the field caught up, I was already dead."
After four punctures wrecked his chances on Wednesday, and crashes left teammates Steven Cozza and Kirk Carlsen with broken collarbones, Farrar was happy just to be in the thick of the action in Qatar.
"At least I didn't have any mishaps today. I gambled but it didn't pay off," he said. "But it's a good sign of my form. Today there were a few opportunities to try things and to get some good training done. That's what you have to do if you want get in better condition for later on."
Farrar is now focused on Friday's final stage from Al Wakra to the Doha Corniche. The 123.5km stage finishes with seven laps of a six-kilometre circuit, with the spectacular Doha skyline in the background.
It could be a perfect way for Farrar and the Garmin-Transitions team to get a pay back for all the bad luck they have suffered so far in the Tour of Qatar.