Chris Froome has been ruled out of the Tour de France after breaking his leg during a crash at the Criterium du Dauphine.
Froome was preparing for a record-equalling fifth Yellow Jersey title at the famous race but his hopes have been left in tatters.
Va Va Froome was taken to hospital after coming off his bike during a recon of the time trial course on stage four in Roanne.
Team Ineos confirmed he would not be coming down the ramp and he was heading to hospital for X-rays and scans.
Froome, 34, was planning to use the race as the final piece of the jigsaw in his preparations for next month’s Tour de France.
In five of the last seven years, the winner of the Dauphine has gone on to top the podium in Paris on Le Tour – with Froome doing so three times himself.
Dave Brailsford, the Team Ineos boss, told France TV: “He crashed in the downhill section of the course at high speed. He hit a wall. The ambulance came quickly.
“It is clear that he will not take the start of the Tour de France, this wound will ask for a long time to heal.”
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 July 6.
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.