Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome will miss this year's race after crashing at a "recon" ride ahead of today's stage at the Criterium du Dauphine.
The 34-year-old will now miss the rest of the event, which he was using as the final race in preparation for next month's Tour and was eighth in the general classification after three stages.
Team Ineos chief Dave Brailsford has confirmed that Froome suffered a "very serious accident" and a suspected broken leg.
“It’s a very serious accident. Clearly, he won’t be at the start of the Tour de France. It’ll take quite a long time before he races again.
“He crashed in the downhill section of the course at high speed. He hit a wall."
He was airlifted to a local hospital, his team confirmed on twitter this afternoon.
"Team Ineos can confirm that Chris Froome crashed during a recon of stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine today.
"He is currently on his way to a local hospital and won't start today's fourth stage. We will provide a further update in due course."
Team INEOS can confirm that Chris Froome crashed during a recon of stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine today.
He is currently on his way to a local hospital and won’t start today’s fourth stage.
We will provide a further update in due course. pic.twitter.com/3x3h5BD5cH
— Team INEOS (@TeamINEOS) June 12, 2019
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. I am awaiting information and transport to get to where he is and as soon as we have any information we will update you - MF
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) June 12, 2019
Froome had been hoping to become just the fifth cyclist to win five Tour de France titles and Brailsford said earlier today that their plan was to back Froome over defending champion Geraint Thomas as their principal rider in this year's race.
"We're going to do all we can to support Chris in his bid to win a fifth Tour, to cement his place in history and join the exclusive club of five-time winners. Sport is full of history and legends. We have to try and do great things, but we also have other riders to manage, too, like Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal."