Chris Froome is out of the Tour de France after being taken to hospital on Wednesday with a suspected broken leg following a crash before stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine.
Team Ineos confirmed in a statement that the four-time Tour de France winner had come off his bike during a reconnaissance of the day’s ride and had withdrawn from the race. Speaking shortly afterwards, David Brailsford, Team Ineos manager, said: “He crashed in the downhill section of the course at high speed. He hit a wall. The ambulance came quickly, he’s been taken care of and waits for an helicopter to be transferred to Lyon or Saint-Etienne.
“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.”
Writing on Froome’s Twitter account, his wife Michelle 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. I am awaiting information and transport to get to where he is and as soon as we have any information we will update you.”
Froome was eighth in the overall classification after three stages of the eight-day race, just 24 seconds behind leader Dylan Teuns. The 34-year-old was using the race in Roanne, France, as part of his build-up to the Tour, which starts on 6 July.
The Tour is only three and a half weeks away and Froome’s preparations this season have been built around peaking for the race as he aims to join an elite group of just four riders to have won five Tour titles.