Team Ineos confirmed Wednesday evening that Chris Froome suffered a fractured femur in a crash during reconnaissance of the Criterium du Dauphine time trial. In addition to the broken leg, Froome also fractured his elbow and ribs in the wreck.
"Chris was taken to Roanne Hospital, where initial examinations confirmed multiple injuries, most notably a fractured right femur and right elbow," Team Doctor Richard Usher said in a team press release. "He has also suffered fractured ribs. He is now being airlifted to St Etienne University Hospital for further treatment.
"On behalf of the team, I would like to commend the treatment he received from the emergency services and all at Roanne Hospital in assessing and stabilising him. We will now turn our focus towards supporting him in his recovery," Usher said.
Team Principal Dave Brailsford, who earlier ruled Froome out of the Tour de France before the fracture was confirmed, turned his focus to Froome's future.
"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," Brailsford said. "Even though we all recognise the risks involved in our sport, it's always traumatic when a rider crashes and sustains serious injuries."
Froome was previewing the stage 4 time trial course in Roanne on Wednesday with teammate Wout Poels when he apparently took his hands off the bars to clear his nose on a 60kph descent, and a gust of wind took out his front wheel, according to Brailsford.
A femur fracture is notoriously difficult to recover from for professional cyclists, and the timeline for returning to competition can vary wildly.
In 2011, Alexandre Vinokourov broke his femur during the 2011 Tour de France, but returned the next season and won the Olympic Games road race.
In 2017, Kevin Ledanois suffered a non-displaced femur fracture and returned to racing in two months. In 2011, Craig Lewis took three months out after a similar injury. Alessandro Ballan broke his femur in the off-season in 2012, and although he returned six months later, continuing pain hampered his racing. Angel Vicioso won a race 11 months after suffering a compound fracture to his femur in the 2014 Giro d'Italia.
Brailsford said the team will be fully behind Froome's recovery, however long that takes as he readjusts his goals.
"Chris had worked incredibly hard to get in fantastic shape and was on track for the Tour, which unfortunately he will now miss," Brailsfrod said. "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."