Remco Evenepoel said his bike bore the brunt of the crash that gave the Vuelta a Espana leader a scare, as Richard Carapaz scored an eye-catching stage 12 victory.
The 192.7-kilometre ride from Salobrena to Estepona took the riders through the province of Malaga, and with just over 45km remaining there was a jolt for general classification front-runner Evenepoel when the Belgian took a chance on a corner.
Looking to take an inside line, Evenepoel's calculation failed to pay off as his wheels slipped, leaving him grounded and shaken momentarily, with his right leg having scraped on the road.
He was soon back in the race and finished strongly, preserving his lead of two minutes and 41 seconds over three-time reigning champion Primoz Roglic in the GC standings.
Asked about any after-effects, Evenepoel said on Eurosport: "Just my leg, but it's fine I think. My bike is much worse than myself.
"It was a super slippery corner. The motorbikes were slipping as well, and slowing down, so that's why I actually wanted to cut the corner, but it was a bit too much.
"Sorry for my words, but s*** happens. Now I'm just going to heal the wounds and try to recover for tomorrow as it will be a sprint stage."
It was largely flat on Thursday, until the steep ascent of Penas Blancas in the closing kilometres proved an arduous test of the riders' legs.
Carapaz, part of a breakaway that splintered as the race and the climb progressed, made his move with 2km remaining and surged clear to finish nine seconds ahead of Wilco Kelderman, with Marc Soler in third. Jay Vine, expected to make a push for the win, could only finish seventh.
Carapaz makes his presence felt
Three years on from winning the Giro d'Italia, this was Carapaz's first stage win of his Vuelta career. He has been the man in the red jersey before, eventually ceding it to finish runner-up to Roglic in 2020, but has not shown that level of consistent performance this year.
His dart to victory up the mountain was mightily impressive, though, serving as a reminder of the 29-year-old's great talent.
1. Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) 4:38:26
2. Wilco Kelderman (BORA-Hansgrohe), +0:09
3. Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), +0:24
4. Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), +0:26
5. Marco Brenner (Team DSM), +0:34
1. Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 44:25:09
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +2:41
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) +3:03
1. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 184
2. Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) 96
3. Samuele Battistella (Astana) 87
King of the Mountains
1. Jay Vine (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 40
2. Robert Stannard (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 21
3. Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) 20