Movistar's Nairo Quintana didn't have quite as straightforward a day as his fellow Tour de France GC contenders on Friday's seventh stage between Belfort and Chalon-sur-Saône after what turned out to be a badly timed toilet break with 30km to go saw the Colombian forced to chase his way back to the peloton.
On a stage that was "super easy", according to Astana's Jakob Fuglsang – "I pushed the lowest average power ever in a Tour de France stage," the Dane said on his team's website – the sprinters made sure to have their day in the final few hundred metres of stage 7, with Jumbo-Visma's Dylan Groenewegen coming out on top.
Quintana, however, stopped for a nature break soon after the day's final intermediate sprint, only to see the bunch suddenly ramp up the speed, forcing the 29-year-old to call on his teammates to help pace him back.
"It was my fault when I got dropped near the finish," Quintana admitted on his team's website. "I had a quick stop for a leak and we got back racing quickly, yet the group started to pick up the pace after the intermediate sprint, and the jury got the car convoy out of our way, which made it harder to bridge back.
"Fortunately, the team was there to support me, we didn't experience any major problems getting back, and the incident remains a mere anecdote," he said – although it certainly could have proven to be a costly incident if he hadn't made it back to the bunch.
Quintana's clearly not in the business of ifs and buts, however.
"Let's move on, and look forward, and tackle the dangerous stages ahead with the best commitment and attention this weekend," Quintana said of Saturday's stage 8 from Mâcon to Saint-Etienne and stage 9 on Sunday – Bastille Day – from Saint-Etienne to Brioude.
"There are lots of climbs, and twists and turns, where it will be difficult to always remain in a good position, but our condition is good, and the team has been working really well these past few days," he said, going into Saturday's stage in 16th position overall, 1:41 behind race leader Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) and 52 seconds down on the highest-placed GC contender, Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos).
Quintana's Movistar co-leader, Mikel Landa, remains in 17th place overall, two seconds behind his teammate, after what was an uneventful seventh stage for him.
"Now we can think about the Massif Central," the Spanish rider said. "Things can always change in stages like the two this weekend; I think the race contenders will be saving some energy for the Pyrenees, but anything can happen.
"Obviously, in the last few hours I've been thinking about my performance yesterday," Landa added, referring to his ultimately unsuccessful attack towards the end of stage 6 on the climb of La Planche des Belles Filles on Thursday. "To be honest, it was already hard to create significant gaps on such a finish, and the good conclusion from yesterday is that I'm strong at the moment. Let's see what the weekend brings."