Matthew Goss' bid to win the green jersey at the Tour de France suffered a huge setback after he was docked 30 points following stage 12.
With a breakaway group contesting the win, Orica-GreenEDGE rider Goss crossed the line in sixth place after proving to be the fastest man in the peloton at the finish.
However, it was ruled that the Australian had deviated from his sprinting line to block Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) as the two battled for position.
The move prompted Sagan, who currently holds the green jersey as leader of the points competition, to sit up and gesture in protest.
And race officials sided with the Slovak, relegating Goss on the day's stage and also handing him a damaging points deduction.
"He didn't stay in his line. He changed his line then made quite a big mistake, it's clear to see," race director Jean-Francois Pescheux said.
The sanction means that Goss now sits second in the standings with a 56-point deficit to Sagan's total of 254. The points gap at the start of the day was 27.
Sagan added: "If he had beaten me normally, I would have accepted it. I wouldn't have been happy, but I would have accepted it. If he's lost points, that's his fault not mine."
Even before being given the news of his punishment Goss was preparing himself for a penalty and insisted he would not let it affect his approach to the race.
Goss said: "Whatever happens, happens. Sometimes it just depends on who's making the decision. Some commissaires are more lenient than others.
"It doesn't really matter. The rules are set out from the start. I'm not going to worry about it, I'm just going to focus on tomorrow."