Roanne (France): Four-time winner Chris Froome is out of the Tour de France after fracturing his leg, hip, arm and ribs in a horrific high-speed crash on Wednesday.
Team Ineos confirmed the 34-year-old’s dream of a fifth Tour de France title this year was over after a gust of wind hurtled him into a wall towards the end of a ‘recon’ ahead of the Criterium du Dauphine’s fourth stage time trial.
“Froome suffered multiple fractures in his right femur, right elbow and ribs, and will remain in the hospital for at least two days in Saint-Etienne before a decision on further treatment is taken,” said his Ineos team principal Dave Brailsford. “It appeared Froome had taken his hand off the handlebars in order to blow his nose ‘and the wind’s taken his front wheel and he’s hit a wall,” Brailsford told the BBC.
“It’s a tough one, to be honest. He’s not in great shape,” he said, adding that Froome also broke his hip in the crash. Brailsford said that the four-time Tour de France winner had worked ‘incredibly hard to get in fantastic shape and had been on track for the Tour’. “Even though we all recognise the risks involved in our sport, it’s always traumatic when a rider crashes and sustains serious injuries. 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.”
Brailsford said Froome had been on a high-speed downhill stretch with Dutch teammate Wout Poels when the crash happened. “They were going very fast,” Brailsford told French television.
The accident happened in the Loire region village of Saint-Andre d’Apchon with fellow competitors estimating he would have been travelling as fast as 60 kilometres per hour (38 miles per hour).
This year’s Tour de France begins on 6 July and race director Christian Prudhomme was swift to wish Froome a speedy recovery. “We hope he gets well soon. The Tour de France won’t be the same without him. Chris Froome has been the central character at the Tour since 2013,” he said.