Chris Froome will not start stage four of the Critérium du Dauphiné after a crash during a course recon.
The Team Ineos rider has been taken to hospital and the team have confirmed he has been forced to pull out of the race.
Tour de France favourite Froome crashed during a recon of the 26.1km individual time trial around Roanne.
A statement from the team, posted on Twitter shortly before 1pm, said: “Team Ineos can confirmed that Chris Froome crashed during a recon of stage four of the Critérium du Dauphiné today.
“He is currently on his way to a local hospital and won’t start today’s fourth stage.
“We will provide further updates in due course.”
Froome had been leading Team Ineos at the Dauphiné as he looked to a record-equalling fifth Tour de France victory next month.
After a promising opening three stages, the 34-year-old sat in eighth place overall on the same time as major rivals Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).
Froome had been a major protagonist on stage two, when he was among the general classification favourites to attack on the deceptive final climb of the day.
He chased down a dangerous attack by Thibaut Pinot on the final climb of the day, which helped form an elite group of favourites who took time on the likes of Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale).
After a quiet opening half of 2019, in which Froome said he felt he had over-exerted himself while racing and training in Colombia, he looked to be coming into form at the Dauphiné.
There has been much speculation about Team Ineos’s leadership for the Tour de France, as Froome has been expected to line up alongside 2018 winner Geraint Thomas and young prospect Egan Bernal.
Froome said the trident of talent in the squad will be more of a problem for his rivals.