Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome will not get to try and add a record-tying fifth yellow jersey to his collection this summer. The Team Ineos leader was out on a recon ride ahead of today’s time trial at the Criterium du Dauphine when he fell at high speed and was injured.
Team manager David Brailsford spoke to reporters before the race, confirming that Froome had been taken off the road in an ambulance awaiting an airlift transport to a local hospital with a suspected fractured femur. “Sounds like he was taking his hands off his bars just to blow his nose, and the winds [took] his front wheel,” Brailsford said. “He hit a wall at 60 km/hour [36 mph] or something like that. He’s got a bad fracture, he’s badly injured.” Froome’s wife Michelle said this morning that the extent of his injuries was not yet clear.
Froome won the Tour in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017, before finishing third last year behind his teammate Geraint Thomas and runner-up Tom Dumoulin. Froome’s bid to tie the record last year was hampered by his choice to race the Giro d’Italia while he was under investigation on doping charges. He won the Giro in stunning fashion and was exonerated in his albuterol case, but by the time the Tour reached the mountains, he was too gassed. Because his team is a juggernaut with better supporting riders than anyone else, Thomas still took Team Sky’s sixth yellow jersey in seven years.
Team Sky became Team Ineos this season, and Froome once again geared his entire season around the Tour. He was rounding into form at the Dauphine before his crash, and had he entered the Tour healthy, he would have been among the big favorites. Despite Thomas’s win in 2018 and Egan Bernal looking like a future champion, Brailsford maintained that his team would line up behind Froome in July. Now it’ll probably be Thomas, with Bernal in the old Froome slot as the mountain lieutenant gets ready to win the race if his leader falters. Ineos is perhaps the only team in the peloton strong enough to withstand the loss of a rider as great as Froome.
Update (2:19 p.m. ET): Team Ineos doctor Richard Usher has announced the extent of Froome’s injuries:
Chris was taken to Roanne Hospital where initial examinations confirmed multiple injuries, most notably a fractured right femur and right elbow. He has also suffered fractured ribs. He is now being airlifted to St Etienne University Hospital for further treatment.