Reigning cyclo-cross world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot was dealt a bitter blow on Thursday as she suffered a knee injury that is likely to force her to miss the entire 'cross season.
The multi-talented French rider, who earlier this year held world titles in three different disciplines (road, 'cross, and mountain bike), crashed on a training ride and suffered a tibial plateau fracture, which is likely to keep her out for at least six weeks.
"Knee injury: tibial plateau fracture. Goodbye to my cyclo-cross season," Ferrand-Prevot announced via Twitter.
The Rabo Liv team followed that up by saying that the 23-year-old would be sidelined for six weeks, and that it is "unlikely that she comes into action this cross season".
With the cyclo-cross World Championships taking place at the end of January, there is a chance Ferrand-Prevot will be able to take part and defend her title, though she will be far from full fitness after so long off the bike and out of competition.
Ferrand-Prevot won the road race title in 2014 in Ponferrada and had been planning to combine road racing with mountain biking during the 2016 season to prepare for a shot at three medals in the Rio Olympics. She will also ride the time trial and has already visited Rio to study the race routes and find a place to stay outside the athlete's village.
Her teammate and rival Marianne Vos has also said she will miss the cyclo-cross season as she recovers from an difficult hamstring and back injuries caused by over-training.