Simon Gerrans battled to fourth place on the third stage of the Tour Down Under after Michael Matthews had taken a comfortable victory ahead of André Greipel and Matt Goss in Stirling.
Team Sky had begun the day a man down after Chris Sutton was forced to call it quits due to the injuries he sustained in a large crash at the end of Wednesday's stage, but Geraint Thomas was able to take his place on the start line.
Aleksandr Kuschynski, Luis Pasamontes, Luke Durbridge and Thomas De Gendt brought the 129km stage to life by jumping clear soon after the riders had exited Unley and the quartet's lead was allowed to stretch to five minutes before race leader Robbie McEwen's RadioShack team roused the peloton into action.
Those four riders remained ahead as they took on the first of three undulating loops around the destination town but the bunch was back together with 20km to go and attacks soon came thick and fast.
Ben Hermans and Richie Porte were just two of the riders to chance their arm off the front in the closing stages but the race came down to a tough uphill sprint and it was world U23 road race champion Matthews who emerged triumphant with Gerrans narrowly denied a place on the podium.
Goss's third-placed finish proved enough for him to reclaim the leader's jersey, while IG Markets stage two winner Ben Swift remains Team Sky's highest-ranked rider, four seconds off the pace. Gerrans meanwhile, has risen to 16th in the overall standings.
After the stage, Sean Yates admitted the team were a little disappointed with the way events had panned out but insisted they were still very much in the bike race.
He told us: "Being in the team car I didn't get to see that last bit of the action but the guys feel it could have gone better and that we have got a top-three at least.
"Simon and Swifty are both in great form but things didn't quite pan out as we'd planned. The whole team was in that front group late on but when the bunch swept to one side of the road they got blocked and their momentum was halted. That's the way things go though sometimes and we'll learn from it.
"Obviously, being without CJ was a big blow for us as well, but when he woke up this morning he could hardly walk so there was no point in aggravating his injuries further.
"As for G, he was OK at the start and spent most of the day working for Swifty, but by the time we reached that hard finishing circuit he was suffering so Mathew Hayman took over his role. He should be feeling better tomorrow though.
"That stage starts fairly hard, and also has a tricky finish, but with HTC-Highroad controlling the race for Goss we can sit back and hopefully prepare ourselves for another go at a stage win."
The Team Sky squad are regular readers of the official website throughout the season so feel free to leave them your messages in the comments section below.