Culoz - Tour de France contender Nairo Quintana lost one of his key lieutenants on Sunday as Jesus Herrada pulled out of the race.
Herrada, one of Spain's highest-rated young riders, was suffering with illness and pulled out within the first 50km of the mountainous 160km 15th stage from Bour en Bresse to Culoz.
"Jesus had a fever last night. He managed to eat this morning but he wasn't feeling good. He threw up. He couldn't continue," said the 25-year-old's Movistar sports director Jose Luis Arrieta.
His loss is a blow to Quintana's hopes of winning a first Tour de France.
The 26-year-old Colombian is already 2min 59sec behind leader and reigning champion Chris Froome.