It was supposed to be another day, a flat sprint stage at the Tour de France, for Alberto Contador to continue to recover from his crashes in stage nine, but twice during stage eleven, he found himself on the ground again.
The first was a result of an incident in the feed zone and also involved John Degenkolb, Haimar Zubeldia as well as Contador, but it was minor, and all three got going with little problems.
Then, at 20 kilometers from the end of the stage, Contador could not avoid teammate Michael Gogl who unexpectedly fell in front of him, this time landing with a bigger impact.
While Jarlinson Pantano paced Contador back to the peloton, Gogl – taking the worst of the crash - slowly picked himself from the tarmac and continued, but never regained the bunch.
"I fell like a stone," explained Gogl. "My gears slipped just as I was accelerating out of a corner and I fell while going full gas. Unfortunately, I took down Alberto as well. It was the second time for him today, so really not a good day for us."
"I am very sore, scrapes and bruises, but there is nothing broken. I am really happy about that because I went down very hard," he reiterated.
Contador made it back to the peloton but wonders what he needs to do to escape the black cloud that seemingly hangs over his head.
"I've never believed in bad luck, but this Tour is putting me to the limit, especially psychologically," said Contador incredulously. "But I will say this, people who may think I'm going to give up is that they do not know me."
"I have received some pretty strong blows again, especially in the hip. Let's see how I pass the rest of the day. Obviously, this makes everything more complicated for the Pyrenees, but like I said, I'm not going to give up. Now I have to be even stronger and with more determination - that's how I'm going to manage this situation.
"This does not help at all, and yes, we will have to wait for the Alps, but my morale is always high, mostly for the affection of all people. Let's see what we can do during the rest of the Tour."
Contador rejoined the bunch, which soon kicked into high gear in pursuit of the last of the breakaway.
In the final kilometers, John Degenkolb was unable to break through the chaos and finished out of the running. Where yesterday he caught a break, today his efforts were foiled, but he shrugged it off, knowing more days, more opportunities, are still ahead.
"I was trying my best, but it was just a little too hectic today. I was a little far back, and I always had to go around [to move up], and that cost me a lot of energy. Yeah. Next time," said Degenkolb, then added, "Saturday maybe."