Such things did not used to happen to Froome but Sky stuck to their script. Wait until the third week, they said. That is when he will come good.
That good patch never came, and as they climbed the final mountain of this Tour, Froome span away on the pedals with his tongue hanging out, dropping 30 seconds behind Thomas and his rivals.
It was one of the images of the Tour to see this four-time winner on the brink of cracking completely, needing to be paced back on by the outstanding 21-year-old Egan Bernal.
None of this is to say the Froome era is over. Over the past 12 months, the 33-year-old has won three consecutive Grand Tours - a phenomenal achievement - and on his day remains the strongest general classification rider in the world.
He has perhaps paid for over-ambition in this Tour, even if he refused to blame his Giro-Tour double attempt for his inability to keep up.
"The Giro-Tour double is still possible, maybe not this year, but this is my fourth Grand Tour in a row so to be in this position is incredible," he said in the final days of the Tour.
Froome seems certain to skip the Vuelta now, and turn his attention to 2019.
That record-equalling fifth Tour title will surely be his focus - but he will have to prise team leadership back from Thomas to pursue it.