Podcast: highlights of every stage of the 2008 Giro d'Italia
With 61 kilometres to go, the likeable US rider was a sad and sorry sight as he lay on the side of the road in the Sicilian hills.
The incident also wiped the smile off the normally happy face of his Australian team director Matt White, who was in a state of shock himself after watching his number one time trialist being carried into an ambulance and taken to hospital.
You may recall Zabriskie hit the bitumen in spectacular fashion in the Team Time Trial at the 2005 Tour de France when he he crashed out of the yellow jersey in the last two kilometres of stage 4 in the town of Blois.
On that day his CSC team enjoyed the highs and lows that come with the rigours of racing in cycling's Grand Tours as Zabriskie had enjoyed his moment in the limelight for the best part of the Tour's first three days that year.
Early medical reports suggested that Zabriskie had suffered a severe back injury but when I spoke to White by phone immediately after the stage, his immediates thoughts were on re-grouping a team which had ridden its heart out all day in a bid to keep Christian Vande Velde in the leader's jersey.
Without Zabriskie, the joys of triumph will obviously be tougher as toughness is what is required to last the distance of this epic race.
Slipstream have proven to be a breath of fresh air since its introduction to the top echelon of pro-cycling this year.
Under the guidance of team boss Jonathan Vaughters and Matt White, it's a team brimming with confidence.
The signings of David Millar, Magnus Backstedt, David Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde and the Aussie pairing of Trent Lowe and Chris Sutton suggests this team has lofty ambitions.
All are in the forms of their respective careers.
A positive showing in Italy over the next three weeks will go a long way to ensuring a wildcard ticket to the Tour de France in July - wouldn't that be a meteoric rise?