Chris Froome will miss the Tour de France after he sustained multiple serious injuries in a 60km/h crash.
The four-time Tour champion suffered a broken femur, a broken elbow and broken ribs on Wednesday during his reconnaissance before stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine.
It was immediately feared the 34-year-old had broken his leg and, after being taken to a nearby hospital, further injuries were confirmed as his hopes of a fifth Tour title this year were dashed.
He is currently in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
The extent of Froome's injuries was revealed in a team statement on Wednesday evening.
"Team Ineos can confirm that Chris Froome sustained multiple serious injuries during a recon of stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine today," it read.
"The 34-year-old crashed towards the end of his route recon in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, sustaining injuries including a fractured right femur, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs.
"Froome has subsequently been ruled out of the rest of the race and will also miss the 2019 Tour de France."
Sir Dave Brailsford, Ineos team principal, praised Froome's preparation for an attempt at winning his fifth Tour de France title – something he will now be prevented from trying to achieve this year.
"Our primary focus now is obviously on ensuring Chris gets the very best possible care, which he will do, so he can recover as soon as possible," he said.
"Even though we all recognise the risks involved in our sport, it's always traumatic when a rider crashes and sustains serious injuries.
"Chris had worked incredibly hard to get in fantastic shape and was on track for the Tour, which unfortunately he will now miss."
Brailsford said Froome had been speeding downhill with Dutch teammate Wout Poels when crashing.
"They were going very fast and the wind got his front wheel and sent him straight into the wall," Brailsford told French television.
The accident took place on a narrow descent through the village of Saint-Andre d'Apchon in the Loire region and other competitors on the recon estimated he would have been travelling at 60km/h (38 mph).
"He could hardly speak. He'll be helicoptered to either Lyon or Saint-Etienne hospital within a few minutes," said Brailsford at the scene where Froome received treatment in a parked ambulance.
Later on Wednesday evening a tweet from Froome's official account - signed MF, the initials of his wife Michelle - read: "Chris is in surgery at the moment to repair the multiple fractures, please keep him in your thoughts. I hope to be able to share a message from him tomorrow morning - MF."
Froome was eighth in the overall classification after three stages of the eight-day race, just 24 seconds behind leader Dylan Teuns, with fellow Briton Adam Yates now leading after the time trial stage.
The race was being used as part of Froome's build-up to this year's Tour de France, which starts on July 6.
Chris is on his way to hospital after a high speed crash during the route recon earlier this afternoon, injuries are yet to be confirmed. I am awaiting information and transport to get to where he is and as soon as we have any information we will update you - MF— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) June 12, 2019
Chris is in surgery at the moment to repair the multiple fractures, please keep him in your thoughts. I hope to be able to share a message from him tomorrow morning - MF— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) June 12, 2019