Australian Richie Porte's overall hopes went up in smoke as Sonny Colbrelli of Italy won the second stage of the week-long Paris-Nice race on Monday.
The 32-year-old Porte, winner of this race in 2013 and 2015, finished the stage 14 minutes down after another wet, windy and attritional day in the 'Race to the sun'.
He lost contact with the lead group during a frantic first 50km of the 195km stage from Rochefort-en-Yvelines to Amilly.
Another two-time former winner and overall contender Alberto Contador of Spain was also distanced over the first 50km but after a 100km chase, his group managed to catch the leading cluster of riders and he finished safely in the pack.
Porte's demise, though, was the second by a favourite in as many days as Frenchman Romain Bardet was disqualified following Sunday's opening stage for having held onto his AG2R team's support car.
Colbrelli edged out German John Degenkolb in the sprint finish with France's Arnaud Demare, Sunday's first stage winner, taking third to hold onto the race leader's yellow jersey.
Tuesday's third stage is a 190km run from Chablis to Chalon-sur-Saone.