Bradley Wiggin's Tour de France ended on the flat-track 218-km seventh stage from Le Mans to Chateauroux won by his compatriot Mark Cavendish on Friday.
Canvendish's victory was soured as Wiggin's suffered a broken collarbone after a crash 40km from the finish left him with a broken collarbone.
The stage finished with Cavendish sprinting to his second victory of this year's Tour. After being told of Wiggin's crash, Caevndish said, "I'm gutted for him, he was probably in the best form of his life."
Wiggin's misfortune came almost exactly 24 hours after Team Sky's first Tour stage win by Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen in Lisieux and a day before the race moved to the mountains, where Wiggin's was expected to shine.
"It's obviously a devastating day for the team. He was in great shape," said Wiggin's Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford.
"He put so much work into this Tour and it's just a shame we don't get to see him in the mountains because he was in the best shape of his life. Things change very quickly and that's what happened today."
While the Olympic champion was being rushed to hospital, Cavendish, who recorded his first Tour victory on the same stage in 2008 was celebrating beating Alessandro Petacchi of Italy and Germany's Andre Greipel on the final stretch.
"It's a special stage for me. I won my first Tour stage here in Chateauroux and it's very sentimental. It's what I fell in love with," said Cavendish.
In the US, the tour will be shown live on Versus, with repeats and highlights being aired on NBC. The entire event is also available online. NBC is selling a Tour de France all access pass for $29.95, which provides HD video of every stage of the race all the way through to the final leg, when cyclists reach Paris on 24 July. Read more at NBC, via GigaOm.
For viewers in other countries, Steephill.tv has a comprehensive list of channels showing the Tour in other regions.