Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome will miss this year’s race after a “bad crash” in training on Wednesday.
Team INEOS leader Dave Brailsford said Froome sustained a suspected fractured femur in a 60 km/h crash.
The British rider was being airlifted to a hospital, Brailsford said at the Critérium du Dauphiné race in southeastern France.
Froome was practising on the route of the 26-kilometre fourth stage of the eight-day Dauphine race, which would have been the 34-year-old rider’s first time-trial test this season.
Brailsford said Froome was riding in gusty winds and seemed to lose control of his front wheel when trying to clear his nose.
Froome received treatment quickly from medical staff with a race ambulance that was near the scene of the crash, Brailsford said.
Seeking a fourth win in the key preparation race, Froome was eighth in the Dauphine standings, 24 seconds behind leader Dylan Teuns of Belgium. Froome won the Dauphine before his Tour wins in 2013, 15 and 16. He also won the 2017 Tour.
The three-week Tour de France starts on July 6. Long-time Froome teammate Geraint Thomas is the defending champion.