Chris Froome has suffered “multiple serious injuries” after an awful crash during the Critérium du Dauphiné.
The Team Ineos leader fell hard during a recon of the stage four time trial route and was rushed to hospital.
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Froome is believed to have taken a hand off the bars of his TT bike to blow his nose when he was caught by a gust of wind and was carried into a low wall, causing the crash.
After being taken to hospital in Roanne, where the time trial started and finished, Froome was found to have suffered multiple injuries including a fractured right femur and right elbow, and fractured ribs.
He was due to be airlifted to nearby St Etienne University Hospital for further treatment, Team Ineos announced in a statement on Wednesday evening (May 12).
The statement also confirmed Froome will not be riding the 2019 Tour de France.
Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “Our primary focus now is obviously on ensuring Chris gets the very best possible care, which we will do, so he can recover as soon as possible.
“One of our big strengths on this team is coming together in difficult moments, and we will ensure we do everything possible to support Chris and his family.”
News of Froome’s crash was released on Twitter by the team before the start of the stage, but the severity of his injuries were not immediately clear.
The 34-year-old was taken to hospital and Team Ineos said he would not be starting the time trial stage.
A short while later Brailsford confirmed that Froome has suffered a suspected broken femur and was not likely to recover in time for the Tour de France.
Brailsford added: “Even though we all recognised the risks involved in our sport, it’s always traumatic when a rider crashes and sustains serious injuries.
“Chris had worked incredibly hard to get in fantastic shape and was on track for the Tour, which unfortunately he will now miss.
“One of the things which sets Chris apart is his mental strength and resilience – and we will support him totally in his recovery, help him to recalibrate and assist him in pursuing his future goals and ambitions.”
Froome has been work towards a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title this summer and looked to have come into form at the perfect moment at the Dauphiné, sitting in the top-10 overall before the time trial, the first real general classification battle of the race.
But disaster struck on the descent from the only climb on the TT course when Froome fell, upending Team Ineos’s plans for the Tour next month.
Team Doctor, Richard Usher, said: “Chris was taken to Roanne Hospital where initial examinations confirmed multiple injuries, most notably a fractured right femur and right elbow. He has also suffered fractured ribs. He is now being airlifted to St Etienne University Hospital for further treatment.
“On behalf of the Team, I would like to commend the treatment he received from the emergency services and all at Roanne Hospital in assessing and stabilising him.
“We will now turn our focus towards supporting him in his recovery.”