Chris Froome has been ruled out of next month’s Tour de France with a suspected broken femur after a high-speed crash during the Criterium du Dauphine.
Team Ineos confirmed the British rider hit a wall during a reconnaissance before stage four and has now withdrawn from the elite race that begins on 6 July.
Team boss Sir Dave Brailsford told cyclingnews.com: “It sounds like he was at the foot of the descent, and it’s obviously very gusty today, and he took his hands off the bars to blow his nose and the wind has taken his front wheel.
Froome will not take part in next month's Tour de France following the crash
“He’s hit a wall at 60kph or something like that, he’s got a bad fracture, he’s badly injured and it sounds like he has a fracture of the femur, to be confirmed.”
Froome’s wife Michelle said he crashed while scoping out the route for Wednesday’s time trial around Roanne in central France.
Writing on her husband’s Twitter account, she said: “Chris is on his way to hospital after a high-speed crash during the route recon earlier this afternoon, injuries are yet to be confirmed.”
Froome was eighth in the overall classification after three stages of the eight-day race, just 24 seconds behind leader Dylan Teuns.
More from UK
The 34-year-old was using the race as part of his build-up to this year’s Tour de France, which he has won four times.
The Tour is only three and a half weeks away and Froome’s preparations this season had been built around peaking for the race as he looked to join an elite group of just four riders to have claimed five Tour titles.