The news that Chris Froome will not start the 2019 Tour de France has caused huge shockwaves in the cycling world.
Team Ineos rider Froome was in pursuit of a record-equalling fifth Tour victory this year and looked to be finding his form at the perfect point in the season during the Critérium du Dauphiné.
But disaster struck the Brit before the stage four time trial in France, as Froome fell hard during a recon of the 26.1km course and was rushed to hospital.
Team Ineos confirmed that Froome would not be starting the time trial and the signs looked foreboding for Froome’s Tour return.
Not long after the news of Froome’s crash emerged, team principal Sir Dave Brailsford confirmed that the 34-year-old will not start the 2019 edition.
Plenty of people have taken to Twitter to wish Froome a quick recovery after what sounds like a horrible injury, including his team-mate Michał Kwiatkowski and the official Giro d’Italia Twitter.
Others have pointed out what a dramatic day it was in the world of cycling.
Along with Froome’s crash, the leader of the Women’s Tour Marianne Vos was caught in a high-speed crash and was forced to abandon the race, and Wout van Aert took the first WorldTour win of his career in the Dauphiné time trial. It has been a whirlwind few hours for the sport.
Of course Froome’s crash also has major implications for the 2019 Tour de France, as this will be the first year he hasn’t started the race since 2011.
Brailsford described the incident as “very serious” and that it will take a long time for Froome to race again. The 34-year-old hit a wall on a downhill section of the 26.1km time trial course in Roanne.
Brailsford told the press: “He’s got a bad fracture, he’s badly injured and it sounds like he has a fracture of the femur, to be confirmed, he’s not in hospital yet. He’s just going to get airlifted shortly to hospital, Saint-Etienne, maybe Lyon.”
His absence will make this a wide-open Tour, as last year’s winner and Froome’s team-mate Geraint Thomas will take over Ineos leadership duties and contenders like Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) will see if they can take the most prestigious crown in cycling.
According to the expert research of the Pro Cycling Stats team, a broken femur tends to be bad news for the rider suffering it in terms of a comeback.
Some have suggested that it could be Egan Bernal who finds himself with Team Ineos leadership responsibilities next month.
We still await further details from Team Ineos about Froome’s injuries and the circumstances around the crash.