Before his Tour de France really started, Marcel Kittel has fallen victim to a setback that threatens to compromise the first half of his race.
Now the German sprint sensation, who has come into the race with the ultimate yet formidable aim of beating sprint king Mark Cavendish (Sky), may have to be patient.
In an event where riders take in at least 6000 calories a day, three times as much as the normal person, Kittel learned the hard way on Monday it's not easy trying to hang on to a fast-driving peloton on an empty stomach.
Instead of being up the front of the peloton with the impressive Argos-Shimano sprint train and challenging Cavendish, he was hanging off the back in clear pain and in survival mode.
Kittel, however, had hardly slept a wink because he was up most of the night with a stomach virus which left him feeling sick and literally empty heading into the first sprint stage of the race.
Thankfully for Argos-Shimano, they had anticipated the scenario and came up with a plan B.
And, under the cicumstances, the Dutch outfit were giving themselves a pat on the back after Dutchman Tom Veelers, Kittel's main lead-out man, finished fourth as Cavendish took his first win of the race ahead of German rival Andre Greipel.
"We didn't exactly hit the panic button but we still had to come up with a plan B, and that was for Veelers," Argos-Shimano sports director Christian Guiberteau told AFP.
"In the end, the boys did well. They prepared the sprint, Tom got into position and finished fourth. For a guy who's a lead-out man and against guys of that level it's not too bad at all."
Kittel, who has won a number of stages this season in races where Cavendish has been competing, admits he is still under par.
But after a light dinner Monday, which he managed to keep down, a good sleep and a hearty breakfast the German says he's feeling more upbeat.
"I ate last night and slept all night, that was a big step for me," he told AFP.
"I also had a good breakfast this morning, that is very important."
With three sprint stages up ahead starting Wednesday, Kittel would love to grab his share of sprint glory on his debut and feels his team have already shown their potential.
"The boys did a very good job yesterday, and that makes me also confident in case I'm ready again for the sprint that I've got a team to help set me up," he added.
However Guiberteau remains cautious.
"Before he can start racing at full power again he has to replenish his reserves including all the sugars he has lost," he added.
"Tomorrow's (Wednesday's) stage should finish in a sprint, but the way things are, we'll be looking at Saint Quentin (Thursday) and Metz (Friday)."