Having so often come close, without yet breaking his Grand Tour duck, 2014 was set to be a big year for Joaquim Rodriguez as he rolled out for the Giro d’Italia in good form.
A poor team time trial had set him back but as his team set the pace on stage five and he profited with a strong showing on the uphill finish, Purito looked every bit the man who has been crowned world number one for three of the last four years.
Just 24 hours later, it was all over for the diminutive Spaniard.
Rodriguez was one of a number of victims of the huge crash which marred stage six of the Giro d’Italia, and definitely the most high-profile.
A broken thumb, fractured rib and multiple abrasions was the verdict as he was helped to finish the stage by his team-mates.
The Spaniard bounced back by mounting a King of the Mountains challenge at the Tour de France, ultimately finishing third in the race for the polka dot jersey.
And now he is one of a number of riders looking to make amends with a strong showing at the Vuelta a Espana – limiting his losses on stage ten, in his least-favourite discipline, to stay firmly in contention overall.