The 34-year-old Froome, who won cycling’s most prestigious race in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, was competing in the Criterium du Dauphine near Roanne, central France, when he crashed at speed ahead of the fourth stage time trial.
Froome was initially assessed at Roanne Hospital before being airlifted to St. Etienne Hospital, according to team doctor Richard Usher.
“He’s not in great shape. He’s in intensive care,” Team Ineos general manager Dave Brailsford told Radio 5 Live’s BeSpoke podcast on Wednesday. “There are crashes and bad crashes and this was a bad crash. It’s a very serious accident. Clearly, he won’t be at the start of the Tour de France.”
“It wasn’t just a serious accident, it was also a freak one.
“It sounds like he was at the foot of the descent,” Brailsford told Cycling News. “It’s obviously very gusty today and he took his hands off the bars to blow his nose and the wind has taken his front wheel. He’s hit a wall at 60km/h or something like that.”
He added: “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 targeting a record-equaling fifth Tour de France title this year to join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain at the top of the sport.
Thomas, the fourth Briton to win the Tour de France, is favorite to win this year’s race ahead of 2018 runner-up Tom Dumoulin.
Team Ineos is bankrolled by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, head of the Ineos petrochemical company. Ineos took over in April after the television station Sky ended its backing, which began in 2010.
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