It was written across his face as he slumped on the floor just past the finish line of stage 16 in Tomares. Primož Roglič is out of the Vuelta a España.
Even though the Slovenian jumped back to his feet with the finish line in sight, slightly dazed as he trawled his way across the final few hundred metres, his injuries looked heavy.
In the evening after the stage, Jumbo-Visma’s medical staff carried out their investigations and announced they would decide in the morning whether Roglič was fit to continue.
It wasn’t a message filled with hope and sure enough on the morning before stage 17 another short announcement was made: “Unfortunately, Primož Roglič will not be at the start of stage 17 as a consequence of yesterday’s crash.”
A heartbreaking exit for the rider poised to take the GC battle to Remco Evenepoel this final week, with only a minute and a half separating them in the overall classification.
For the first time since 2018, Roglič will end the season without a Grand Tour win, a remarkable run of success, especially for a rider whose misfortune never seems too far away.