Team Sky's Vuelta a Espana squad have been hit by a mystery illness that has seen five riders and several members of staff affected.
The illness, which takes the form of severe vomiting, forced Ben Swift and John-Lee Augustyn to abandon on stage three. But they are far from being the only Sky riders to suffer.
"John-Lee and Ben both pulled out because they literally could not continue, they were so ill," team principal Dave Brailsford told the news agency Reuters.
"Another three, [Australian] Simon Gerrans, and [Britons] Ian Stannard and Pete Kennaugh are all really bad, how Simon and Pete got through today I just don't know, they were suffering so much."
Brailsford said that although the symptoms look like food poisoning they are most likely not to be that because "riders and staff eat separately and we've got several members of staff sick" - including Rod Ellingworth and Marcus Ljungqvist.
"We've got our own chef, we're very vigilant about food hygiene, too."
Brailsford said one of the strange symptoms of the illness, which started to affect the team on Saturday, is that it strikes unusually fast.
"Swifty was feeling fine yesterday" - taking seventh in a bunch sprint - "but today he couldn't stop throwing up."
Although their best-placed rider Lars Petter Nordhaug is in a strong position overall, just 1-01 down on race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Brailsford said their current aim in Spain is "damage limitation and keeping the team afloat."
Vuelta a Espana 2010: Related links
Stage three: Gilbert attacks to win stage and take race lead
Stage two: Hutarovich beats Cavendish to Vuelta stage win
Vuelta stage one: Cavendish leads after HTC-Columbia win team time trial
The British riders to have led one of the grand tours
Vuelta a Espana 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
Bikes of the Atlas Mountain Race 2023: from comfort gravellers to speed weapons, here’s what caught our eye
Covering 1,300km / 800mi of Morocco’s gravel roads and mountain passes, the Atlas Mountain Race demands a tech-heavy approach for its 3+ days of bikepacking racing
By Stefan Abram • Published
British champion Cameron Mason hoping for rain at Cyclo-cross World Championships
British national champion says patience will be the key in what’s expected to be a fast race in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands
By Tom Thewlis • Published