A mechanical problem meant momentary trouble for Tour Down Under leader Cadel Evans late in Friday’s stage four.
Evans’ chain appeared to come off as the Australian cycling star tried to contest the second intermediate sprint at Yankalilla, 116.6km into the 148.5km stage.
Seconds later, the BMC team leader had to stop and change bikes, but was soon back in the peloton.
Fellow Australian Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE), who is second overall, finished second in the Yankalilla sprint to gain two more seconds on Evans.
Gerrans also took out the first intermediate sprint of the stage from suburban Unley to Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide, giving him a three-second time bonus.
After losing the lead to Evans on stage three and trailing by 12 seconds, Gerrans picked up five seconds on Friday and reduced the gap to seven seconds.
Gerrans won the first intermediate sprint in the Adelaide Hills town of Echunga at 25.5km and Evans did not finish in the top three.
Fourth-placed Nathan Haas finished third in the first sprint and won the second sprint to gain four bonus seconds.
He remains fourth in the overall standings, but his deficit has gone down from 27 seconds to 23.
Italian Diego Ulissi (Lampre) is third at 15 seconds.
Victor Harbor is usually a sprint finish, meaning Gerrans is unlikely to have another chance on Friday to gain more bonus seconds.
The tour title will come down to Saturday’s second last stage at Willunga, south of Adelaide, which features two climbs up Willunga Hill and a summit finish.
Gerrans was runner-up there two years ago to set up his second overall title and won the stage last year.
There was a flurry of attacks early in Friday’s stage and eventually a five-rider break went clear after the first sprint.
Australian Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) and French rider Axel Domont (Ag2r) went clear of the other three members of the breakaway and built a lead of nearly five minutes.
But the peloton were never going to let them stay away ahead of the second intermediate sprint.
Crosswinds created tricky conditions for the bike riders and several, including British star Geraint Thomas (Sky), almost came to grief.
Thomas briefly went off onto the side of the road before recovering and returning to the peloton.