Caleb Ewan's controversial Tour Down Under relegation might have been a case of one headbutt too many.
There was plenty of sympathy among prominent Australian cycling figures on Sunday, the day after the pocket rocket fell foul of the race jury.
The Australian sprint ace crossed the line first at Strathalbyn to win stage five but moments later he was relegated because of a headbutting incident inside the last kilometre.
Ewan threw his head three times as Belgian Jasper Philipsen as they jockeyed for position.
Philipsen crossed the line second and was awarded the stage.
Sprinting legend Robbie McEwen, who is a TV commentator at the race, remains adamant it was the wrong call to penalise Ewan.
The rider himself said in a Lotto-Soudal statement on Saturday night that he disagrees with the call.
"Maybe the third headbutt was what brought him undone," race director Mike Turtur said.
"I think they were happy to allow two ... they're pretty strict on that stuff.
"It's unfortunate, I know he's desperate to win for Lotto-Soudal but he'll bounce back for sure."
Fellow TV commentators Stuart O'Grady and Anna Meares also had sympathy for Ewan.
"Rubbing out an Aussie on home soil with a brand-new team, I think that's probably a little bit over the top," O'Grady said.
Meares, the queen of track sprinting, had mixed feelings.
"My gut reaction was I felt it was a bit of a rough call, but when the head comes into play I know UCI commissaires don't like it," she said.
"The third one probably wasn't needed.
"But geez, it added some drama."
There was a humorous postscript, given McEwen and O'Grady were sitting next to each other on the TV commentary panel.
McEwen was relegated from third place in stage three at the 2005 Tour de France for headbutting O'Grady.
At the start of Sunday's broadcast, thanks to Meares, footage of the 2005 incident was played without any warning for the two protagonists.
At the time, there was plenty of tension between O'Grady and McEwen in the wake of the incident but they are now good friends.
"It's funny looking at it," O'Grady said.
"I was telling the guys; 'that's a headbutt, that's an elbow'."
Australian Associated Press