Chris Froome. Picture: SUPPLIED
Chris Froome. Picture: SUPPLIED

Roanne — Chris Froome will miss the Tour de France after hitting a wall at high speed and suffering severe injuries in a training accident at the Criterium du Dauphine on Wednesday, Team Ineos leader Dave Brailsford has confirmed.

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“It’s clear he’ll take no part in the Tour,” Brailsford told French television while four time Tour de France winner Froome was being treated at the scene in a parked ambulance.

Medics move Team Ineos rider Christopher Froome on a stretcher at the Centre Hospitalier after he fell during training for the Criterium du Dauphine cycling race, in Roanne, France, June 12 2019. Picture: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP
Medics move Team Ineos rider Christopher Froome on a stretcher at the Centre Hospitalier after he fell during training for the Criterium du Dauphine cycling race, in Roanne, France, June 12 2019. Picture: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP

The 2019 Tour de France embarks from Brussels on July 6 and the loss of the British rider will shake up ambitions at several teams. But Froome’s team principal Brailsford’s sombre tone suggested the implications may go further.

“He is in a very, very serious condition,” said Brailsford, adding that the racer was having difficulty speaking and would be taken to hospital by helicopter. A witness at the scene of the accident said Froome had suffered an open fracture of the femur and had suffered other injuries too, notably to his elbows.

Brailsford said Froome had been speeding downhill with Dutch teammate Wout Poels on a “recon” ride for Wednesday’s time-trial when a gust of wind blew him off track, making him hit a wall.

“They were going very fast and the wind got his front wheel and sent him straight into the wall,” Brailsford said.

The accident took place on a narrow descent through the village of Saint-André d’Apchon in the Loire region and other competitors on the ride estimated he would have been travelling at 60km/h.

 Tour de France 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.

“His withdrawal changes the whole thing. Even if they have the titleholder Geraint Thomas and let’s not be lured into underestimating Egan Bernal, who will be his lieutenant or possibly more,” Prudhomme said of two key Ineos riders.

The Kenyan-born Froome, who at his best combines top-level time-trial skills with a fearsome prowess for climbing, first won the Tour in 2013 with Team Sky.

He went on to further Tour de France wins in 2015, 2016 and 2017, he also won the 2017 Vuelta a Espana and the 2018 Giro d’Italia, making him the greatest Grand Tour rider of his generation.

AFP