Former champion Geraint Thomas lost around 30 seconds to his two key rivals for the overall Tour de France title after slipping behind in Sunday's thrilling finale to the second stage.
As Tour rookie Mathieu van der Poel scored a memorable triumph in blistering gung-ho style, Thomas was unable to keep up over the final kilometre.
Thomas is one a pre-Tour designated quartet of Ineos leaders. Two others, Richie Porte and Tao Geoghegan Hart, lost time after falls on the first stage.
The 35-year-old Thomas stayed upright on Saturday, one of the few riders to do so.
But after Sunday, the highest placed rider on the Ineos roster is Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz. The 2019 Giro d'Italia champion kept up with the elite group that followed Van der Poel over the finish line.
Carapaz is 18th, 31sec down on the leader and 18 seconds down on the 2020 champion Tadej Pogacar.
"It's a bit of a shame that G lost a few seconds but we remain in the fight and there is a lot to come. We will see little by little, day by day," Carapaz said.
"It was a very nervy stage and lots of people attacked us," the Ecuadorian said. If he's right it could be a sign other teams sense weakness.
Thomas is 41sec off the lead after slipping off the blistering pace Van der Poel set up the Mur-de-Bretagne.
Ineos have won the Tour de France seven times in the past nine years with Bradley Wiggins in 2012, Chris Froome in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, Thomas in 2018 and Egan Bernal in 2019.