Kurt-Asle Arvesen was forced to abandon the Vuelta a Espana on the sixth stage following his crash 24 hours earlier.
The Norwegian, a key road captain for Team Sky and riding in his final Grand Tour before retiring at the end of the season, suffered severe cuts and bruising to his knees, legs and back while his bike frame was damaged beyond repair after he collided with a child who had strayed into the road midway through stage five.
Arvesen was somehow able to get back on a spare bike and managed to complete the stage within the time limit while the young boy suffered a cut lip and nose.
But while Arvesen started the 196.8 kilometres stage from Ubeda to Cordoba on Thursday his injuries meant he was unable to complete it, battling to around 50km from the finish before he climbed off his bike.
Sports Director Steven de Jongh said: "Kurt having to abandon is a big loss for the team. He was our captain here and the voice of the team, but yesterday he suffered a huge crash with a child and today there was just nothing left in the legs.
"It’s too bad. He will take the train to Madrid this evening and then fly back to Norway in the morning."
It was a sad way for an outstanding Grand Tour career to come to an end, with the Norwegian one of an elite group of riders who has won stages in the three biggest races on the calendar.
He has claimed two stages in the Giro d'Italia, in 2003 and 2007, one in the team time trial stage of the 2006 Vuelta a Espana, and finally, but most famously, a road stage of the 2008 Tour de France into Foix.
Selfless reaction from road captain
Afterwards Arvesen's first thought was again for the child rather than himself as he stressed: "I am really happy that the boy involved is doing okay and going home today.
"I didn’t break anything and last night my left knee was feeling okay. It felt worse this morning though and it was a fight all day once I’d got on the bike.
"The stage was difficult and they rode hard for the first 50km. I was fighting to stay on but got dropped initially, managed to get back on, and then was dropped again.
"There was a lot of sympathy and support for me from the other riders in the peloton, and even in the caravan with the other cars. They all knew what happened yesterday and were willing me to finish. I thought for a moment that I could do it, but it came to a point where couldn’t carry on after about 130km or so. I just couldn’t pedal any more. My left leg completely shut down and I think I was only able to finish the stage yesterday because of the adrenaline.
"We tried the best we could. The doctor and physio worked on me into the night and the support I had from my team-mates was fantastic. There was nothing any of us could do though."
And while it is the end of his Grand Tour career, Arvesen is still hopeful of representing his country again in the World Championships Road Race on September 25, adding: "I have to look forward now. I am not ruling out the World Championships but it’s obviously too early right now to make a decision.
"I’m not going to take one of Norway’s four places though if there is someone else who is fitter than me. We still have Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Alex Kristoff from BMC available, so if they are 100% and I am not I will tell the national coach to pick them over me. I spoke to him yesterday and told him as much then."