Mark Cavendish abandoned the Tour of Britain on Friday following a crash as Etixx-QuickStep team-mate Matteo Trentin won stage six.
The 192.7-kilometres route traversed the Peak District National Park, from Stoke to Nottingham and Trentin beat Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) as the duo battled for the stage win.
Norwegian Boasson Hagen, the 2009 Tour of Britain winner, earned enough bonus seconds to enhance his overall lead to 13 seconds ahead of the concluding weekend of racing.
Cavendish, who earlier in the day was confirmed in the Great Britain team for the Road Cycling World Championships later this month, quit his national tour after a crash.
The full extent of any injuries was still to be revealed by his team.
Saturday's 227.1km seventh stage from Fakenham to Ipswich likely is the final opportunity for Boasson Hagen's rivals - Team Sky's Wout Poels chief among them - to dethrone him as Sunday's central London finale is expected to end in a sprint.