Team Sky leader Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France hopes ended after he crashed heavily on today's seventh stage and suffered an apparent shoulder injury.
The 31-year-old, who finished fourth in the 2009 Tour, required treatment from the race doctor after a crash around 40 kilometres from the end of the 218-kilometre stage from Le Mans to Chateauroux.
He was undergoing further assessment by Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman, holding his left arm before making the decision to abandon the race and enter an awaiting ambulance.
Wiggins was sixth overall, 10 seconds behind race leader Thor Hushovd, entering today's stage.
The three-time Olympic champion finished 24th in the 2010 Tour after entering with high expectations as Team Sky's marquee signing in their debut season.
Wiggins was optimistic of a strong performance in the 2011 Tour, speaking of getting back to the heights of 2009, after last month winning traditional Tour warm-up the Dauphine Libere and the British Championships. But now those hopes have been extinguished.
Wiggins was well positioned in the overall classification after a crash-strewn first week in which Team Sky have been among the main protagonists.
The blow of his exit comes a day after Team Sky celebrated their first Tour stage win as Edvald Boasson Hagen won the sixth stage into Lisieux.
Meanwhile, Geraint Thomas, Olympic team pursuit champion alongside Wiggins, has been wearing the best young rider's white jersey since last Sunday's second stage.
Team Sky sports director Sean Yates was heard over the race radio relaying the news to Wiggins' eight team-mates.
Yates said: "Guys it's over for Bradley - got a broken collar bone we think."