Fabio Aru was the first man down for UAE Team Emirates, abandoning early on Stage 9. A member of the team staff attacked him in Italian media, Giuseppe Sarroni viciously attacking Aru's mental health in a stigmatising assault that has little place in modern discussions around mental conditions.
Davide Formolo was the next to be lost to Pogačar's support team, with the Italian climber during a tricky Stage 10 which saw a number of nasty crashes. Formolo was one of the unlucky ones, falling and breaking his collarbone. He managed to finish the stage, but his fate was confirmed after the race and he did not start the eleventh stage.
"Losing Formolo yesterday was really a big blow because he's such a strong kid," said Peiper, "good for the group, good for the vibe in the team. Two men down and both mountain men so we're just left with a couple of helpers.
"David De La Cruz who had a cracked coccyx in the first week and is still recovering and Jan Polanc so it's getting a bit thin up there."
The remaining members of the team are sprinter Alexander Kristoff, experienced campaigner Marc Marcato and Vegard Staede Laengen, who whilst a handy climber, isn't recognised as being at the same level as climbers present at the Tour.
David McKenzie asked the question of how Aru was faring after his abrupt exit from the Tour, how he was physically as well as how he was doing mentally.
"I think both of those things are under the microscope Dave," said Peiper. "He wasn't good Saturday."
"I think more to the point it had been made clear to him there was only one objective and that was Tadej maybe that played mentally on him as well that he was going to have to step into that lieutenant role.
"Speaking of Tadej. He's such an exciting prospect isn't he to watch? Normally we would say a 20-year-old still, they'll get tired in the third week but I made that mistake in the Vuelta last year. You guys must be so excited about this next 10 days. Is the sky the limit for Tadej?"
The rise of Pogačar is part of a growing generation of youngsters that are excelling within the sport, with Pogačar announced by UAE Team Emirates as entering the Tour as a co-leader with Aru, though clearly that was just as a smokescreen for the team's true Pogačar ambitions. The young Slovenian attacked on Stage 8 and took 40 seconds on his main rivals for the yellow jersey and then went on to win Stage 9 from his countryman and current leader of the Tour, Primož Roglič.
"Well it's all about confirmation but I think he's confirmed already last weekend and the level that he's at," said Peiper of Pogačar. "I would've preferred that he kept it under wraps a bit longer. But he did have some time to make up so all in all it's a good place to be in.
"We won a stage, he's moved up on GC again. But everyone is aware of how good he is."
Peiper looked ahead to the key mountain stages that will shape the general classification battle at the race.
"The last week is going to be very defining," said Peiper. "From Friday onwards the Puy Mary and the Grand Colombier, they're also going to be quite decisive. So it's a bit of a worry he's going to be alone."
UAE Team Emirates will presumably try to rely on Jan Polanc as their domestique for the mountains, with the two-time Giro d'Italia stage winner the best rider in the mountains remaining on the squad.
"We really have to manage our energy as good as we can," said Peiper. "In a way, they know he doesn't have a team and if they don't step in and recitfy a situation in the race they might also lose out. That could work our way in the long run tactically."
Peiper's task will be cut out for him as he attempts to navigate his young charge to a maiden Grand Tour win with a weakened team.
The Tour de France continues tonight with Stage 12, the longest of this year’s race, a 218-kilometre course similar to an Ardennes classic from Chauvigny to Sarran. Watch the race on the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker from 7.40pm AEST, with television coverage starting from 9.30 AEST on SBS HD.