CHRIS FROOME is out of the Tour de France after being airlifted to hospital from a crash with “multiple serious injuries” including a broken leg.
The four-time Tour winner fractured his right femur, elbow and ribs after slamming into a wall “at high speed” during a warm-up for stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine.
The 34-year-old had taken his hands off the handlebars when he lost control following a strong gust of wind in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes in Roanne, France.
As a helicopter took Froome away, Team Ineos confirmed he had been “ruled out of the rest of the race and will also miss the 2019 Tour de France”.
Team doctor Richard Usher added: “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.
“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.”
Ineos general manager Sir Dave Brailsford told Belgian media: “He crashed in the downhill section of the course at high speed.
“He hit a wall. It’s a very serious accident. It’ll take quite a long time before he races again.”
L’Equipe reported his £10,000 Pinarello time-trial bike had damage to its right side.
Froome’s absence from the Tour de France will be severely felt as he is one of cycling’s biggest names.
He won Le Tour in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
He has been withdrawn from the Dauphine, where he was due to start stage four — a 16-mile individual time trial.
The Kenya-born Brit was sitting eighth on general classification after stage three, 24 seconds down on leader Dylan Teuns, but was tipped to make gains during the time trial.
TURN TO PLAN G
Before this race, Froome has been training in Tenerife with his team, where the altitude on Mt Teide gives him some exceptional roads to simulate the mountains of France.
His last race before the Dauphine was the Tour de Yorkshire, where he finished 13th after four stages.
MOST READ IN SPORT
He has focused his season around the Tour, after his incredible Giro d’Italia win last year that saw him roll into the biggest race of the year off the boil.
Instead, team-mate Geraint Thomas won the three-week race for the first time as Froome was forced to play second fiddle in Team Sky and he ended up third.
Sky have since had new ownership and a name change and Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos will also race at the Tour de Suisse, led by Thomas, starting on Saturday.