Bradley Wiggins led home Team Sky in 24th on stage six of the Vuelta a Espana as Kurt-Asle Arvesen was forced to abandon the race.
Experienced Norwegian Arvesen had 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.
But while Arvesen started the 196.8 kilometres sixth 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 - click here for full details and reaction from him.
Peter Sagan won the sixth stage following a show of strength from his Liquigas-Cannondale team. The pivotal moment came on the final descent into Cordoba where four Liquigas riders split the peloton as they powered off the front along with Pablo Lastras (Movistar).
That quintet left the main pack trailing and team leader and defending champion Vincenzo Nibali looked poised to challenge for the overall lead by taking the bonus seconds for winning the stage. Lastras, winner of the third stage, had other ideas though and it was only some quick thinking from Sagan that prevented him from taking the stage despite being completely outnumbered.
The 21-year-old Slovakian swooped past in the closing metres to claim the victory from Lastras, with Valerio Agnoli in third, Nibali fourth and Eros Capecchi fifth.
Overall leader Sylvain Chavanel (Quick-Step) was tenth on the stage, 17 seconds back, and extended his GC advantage to 15 seconds from Daniel Moreno (Katusha), with Nibali up to third a further second adrift.
Team Sky's Wiggins again finished close-up along with team-mate Chris Froome, the British pair taking 24th and 34th respectively on the stage in the group which came home 23 seconds back.
The duo are 22nd and 21st respectively in the overall standings, 1:26 behind.
Afterwards Sports Director Steven de Jongh's first thoughts were with Arvesen as he 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.
"The rest of the team managed to cope well again in this heat and Bradley was looking strong on the climbs, so that’s good. Unfortunately he lost a few seconds on that final descent but he only dropped 23 seconds on Nibali and six seconds to [Joaquim] Rodriguez and some of the other main contenders. That’s not too bad and it could be worse."
Those gaps are unlikely to change too much on Friday’s seventh stage from Almaden to Talavera de la Reina which looks one for the sprinters as the race begins its journey north.
Stage two winner Chris Sutton will be looking for further gains, though de Jongh adopted a cautious tone as he revealed: "CJ has not been feeling at his best for the past few days but we will see what happens."