Britain's Chris Froome will not start next month's Tour de France after crashing heavily in the Criterium du Dauphine on Wednesday, his Team Ineos manager Dave Brailsford has confirmed.
The four-time Tour champion was taken to hospital after hitting a wall at high speed during a course reconnaissance of the 26.1 km individual time trial around Roanne in central France.
"It's a very serious accident. Clearly, he won't be at the start of the Tour de France. It'll take quite a long time before he races again," Brailsford told French TV.
"He crashed in the downhill section of the course at high speed. He hit a wall.
The ambulance came quickly, he's been taken care of and waits for a helicopter to be transferred to Lyon or Saint-Etienne."
Froome's wife, Michelle, said Froome was involved in a "high-speed crash" while scoping out the route for Wednesday's time trial around Roanne.
Writing on her husband's Twitter account, she said: "Chris is on his way to hospital after a high speed crash during the route recon earlier this afternoon, injuries are yet to be confirmed. I am awaiting information and transport to get to where he is and as soon as we have any information we will update you."
Froome was eighth in the overall classification after three stages of the eight-day race, just 24 seconds behind leader Dylan Teuns.
The 34-year-old was using the race as part of his build-up to this year's Tour de France, which starts on July 6.
The Tour is only three and a half weeks away and Froome's preparations this season had been built around peaking for the race as he looked to join an elite group of just four riders to have won five Tour titles.