Matthew Glaetzer's heart sank as he rounded the bend and surveyed the devastation.
The Australian track cycling world champion was the only rider not to crash in Friday night's six-rider keirin at the Adelaide Superdrome.
While Glaetzer was fine, the crash had taken out the rest of the men's sprint team for the world championships next month in Poland.
Olympians Nathan Hart and Pat Constable were among the casualties in the second race of the Track Down Under exhibition event.
"It's worst-case scenario," he said.
"It doesn't take much for that to happen in racing - not great, but we're a tough bunch of lads and I know they're going to back up strong."
Constable's head knock was the most serious injury, but he is not expected to miss next week's World Cup round in New Zealand.
Otherwise it was a lot of lost skin and plenty of winces and grimacing in the first aid pen.
It was Glaetzer's last competition before he defends his sprint title at the worlds.
"The safest place is at the front, so it worked out for me," he said.
Later in the evening, young gun Matthew Richardson beat Glaetzer in a match sprint.
Glaetzer's heavy training load meant he was vulnerable, but he was full of praise for his teammate.
"He got me, credit to him, and it's really exciting to see talent like that coming through," he said.
"He has serious gas, really explosive, and it's what we need as a senior squad - we need that fire lit under us to make sure we don't rest on our laurels."
Glaetzer showed impressive form late last year at northern hemisphere World Cups and mentally, he feels ready for his world title defence.
"It was really good, racing the World Cups this season, to get used to that pressure (as world champion)," he said.
"I wore the rainbow bands in an individual event for the first time and raced with that expectation, so I'm used to that now.
"It's never easy, but it's all about making sure I focus on the things I can control.
"It's easy to lose your head in a sprint, to think about the races to come, so keep it simple for me and hopefully it works out like last time."
Australian Associated Press