Tyler Farrar's Tour de France went from bad to worse when he crashed in the closing kilometres of stage 5 from Rouen to Saint-Quentin. It was the third straight day in which the American had hit the tarmac, and ended with him trying to confront sprint rival Tom Veelers outside the Argos-Shimano bus.
Farrar was hoping to end his year-long wait for a win and inside the final five kilometres looked in contention. However he and Veelers collided, with a Lampre rider then making it almost impossible for Farrar not to crash.
"He said last night that he was as low as he could go so if he was that low last night then it's difficult for him," Garmin-Sharp's Allan Peiper said at the finish.
"He's taken so much skin off, he's got burn marks all over his chest from tires from two days ago, then he's lost skin off his back yesterday. He's only got one leg that was unhurt so I don't know how he's going to be tonight. He's a tough and he's been breaking bones since he's been a kid but this might be too much for most people to survive."
The past twelve months have been tough on Farrar. His Tour stage in Redon last year appeared to be a turning point but since then he has failed take a single win. Podium places have been a rarity and he crashed out of both last year's Vuelta and this spring's Giro d'Italia. Heading into the Tour Garmin stacked their GC bid, leaving Farrar with a shorter leadout than in previous years. However Peiper believes that Farrar's problems could be down to a combination of luck and an element of trying too hard.
"It's just pure bad luck and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe when things aren't going your way you start trying too hard and you make mistakes," he told Cyclingnews.
Whether Farrar can dust himself down again and bounce back is still in the balance.
"If there's nothing broken - but I don't know how his spirit is," Peiper said. "He's taken quite a bashing in the last couple of months, first at the Giro and then things not going the way they should despite him doing everything right. It's a difficult time for him."