Britain’s four-time champion Chris Froome suffered a fractured right femur, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs in a high-speed crash that has ruled him out of the Tour de France.
Froome, 34, hit a wall at 60kmph when he took his hands off his handlebars to blow his nose, according to team principal David Brailsford.
The crash occurred before the stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine.
The Team Ineos rider has been airlifted to St Etienne University Hospital.
“Even though we all recognise the risks involved in our sport, it’s always traumatic when a rider crashes and sustains serious injuries,” said Brailsford.
“Chris had worked incredibly hard to get in fantastic shape and was on track for the Tour, which unfortunately he will now miss.
“One of the things which sets Chris apart is his mental strength and resilience – and we will support him totally in his recovery, help him to recalibrate and assist him in pursuing his future goals and ambitions.”
Froome was eighth overall in the Criterium after three stages of the eight-day race.
He would have been chasing a record-equalling fifth victory in the Tour, which starts in Brussels on 6 July.
Froome went into last year’s race as favourite, holding all three Grand Tour titles, having won the Vuelta a Espana and the Giro d’Italia.
He finished third as team-mate Geraint Thomas became the third Briton to win the race.
More to follow.