Two crashes meant Bradley Wiggins' special day in the maglia rosa ended in disappointment. The joy of victory in Saturday's time trial was replaced by pain and frustration for the Team Sky rider after being brought down on the narrow roads near Utrecht.
Wiggins lost 32 seconds and slipped to 37th overall. He was forced to watch Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) pull on the pink jersey as he licked his wounds on the Team Sky bus. He was not seriously hurt, with just a few cuts and bruises, and a swollen knee. He managed to take losing the pink jersey on the chin, knowing that crashes are one of the uncontrollable aspects of road racing.
"That's the way it is in Grand Tours. You have a massive high one day and then you're at the bottom of the pack the next. It's just bike racing," he said from the steps of his team bus.
"I was never further back than the top-20 but I just got caught in the crash. It was a shame but quite a few of us got caught in that one. We came back but never really got the rhythm back after that and we were being drag-raced by the other teams."
"The guys did an amazing job, but then I crashed again with seven kilometres-to-go and it was pretty much over then. It's disappointing to lose the pink jersey, especially the way we lost it, but I enjoyed the day in pink. That's bike racing."
Wiggins agreed that the narrow roads used for the stage were dangerous, but blamed the riders not the race organisers. "It was [dangerous] but we knew it was going to be like that and the Tour de France will be the same. It was always going to happen. It's just the way it is," he said.
"I'm okay. I've got a swollen knee but I'm okay. I was lucky. I think there are guys worse off. It's the riders that make it dangerous. That's bike racing. One person's loss is another person's gain and if you're on the other end of it, it's great."
Fortunately, there were some pleasant moments during the stage for Wiggins before pain replaced the satisfaction of wearing the pink jersey. He and Team Sky will look to bounce back in Wednesday's team time trial.
"My memory of [today's] stage is being congratulated by most of my peers: Vinokourov, Basso, Garzelli. Them showing you respect like that is nice. It was still a great day," he said. "We've got to get through tomorrow now but we'll regroup for Wednesday and give it our best shot."