Jumbo-Visma's riders were grim-faced and disappointed after a brutal opening stage of the Vuelta a España in which several of their riders crashed and their top riders Steven Kruijswijk and Primoz Roglic both lost time.
After winning the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, as well as the Tour's TTT, hopes had been high for the Dutch squad.
However, a crash mid-way through the Torrevieja TTT course, caused by a pool of water which materialised between training rides and the real event for no obvious reason, saw several riders hit the deck. Roglic, widely tipped as the Vuelta's main favourite, was amongst them.
Teammates said later that no rider suffered serious injuries and both Roglic, despite cuts and bruises, and Kruijswijk could finish the course with the main group of Jumbo-Visma riders.
But the time loss of 40 seconds and 18th place on the opening TTT for both constituted the roughest of starts to the two Vuelta a España contenders for Jumbo, with the team gunning for the overall victory in Madrid in three weeks.
Neither Kruijswijk, fourth in last year's Vuelta and third in the 2019 Tour, nor Roglic were willing to talk to journalists at the finish line, with the Dutchman pedalling rapidly away and Roglic following suit.
"Worst case scenario," their teammate and multiple World TT Champion Tony Martin repeated in English various times whilst talking to Eurosport Germany in his native language and before switching languages.
"There was a wet part before a roundabout, half-way round, it was absolutely unexpected," Martin said. "I don't know if somebody put some water there, but it wasn't there in the recon and the first guys slipped away in the corner."
Kruisjwijk was OK, Martin said, and "luckily Primoz could continue and he could push good, so that's a good sign. But now we have to wait for the doctor's evaluation.
"For sure it's not good for the morale, but we'll do our best to have a positive attitude to Madrid."
American Nelson Powless lost well over three minutes and was banged up on his left-hand side but otherwise seemingly all right, whilst Sepp Kuss lost four minutes after being dropped before the crash but also completed the course.
"We got a pretty good view of the course, early on in the day, and I really thought we had it dialed with the speed we could take," Powless told reporters.
"We came into that roundabout and even though it was totally dry when we were pre-riding it, there was a ton of water on the corner. We were taking it at the speed we knew we could take it at but when our tyres got wet from that wet streak, it surprised us and you can't change your speed that late. Primoz went down, I went out just before him. It wasn't like we grabbed our brakes too hard or were leaning too hard. I think we were just not prepared for that to happen, it was really unfortunate."
The team went instantly into damage limitation mode, and as Powless said: "Luckily Steven and Primoz and Tony, I don't know who else, but at least four guys, were able to get up and try to make the most of it."
"I think everybody's OK, nothing broken or serious, so hopefully we can recover from this and still make this a good three weeks."
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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