Two-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome is out of the Vuelta a Espana with a fractured bone in his foot.
The Team Sky leader, who has twice finished runner-up in the Tour of Spain, will not start Thursday’s 12th stage.
“Scans this morning confirm fractured navicular. End of the Vuelta for me,” Froome wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning.
The 30-year-old, who won his second Tour de France title in July, sustained the injury in a crash early on Wednesday’s 11th stage.
He was 15th overall, seven minutes 30 seconds behind race leader Fabio Aru (Astana), after conceding more than eight minutes to the Italian on Wednesday.
Chris Froome pictured after winning the Tour de France in July.
Froome wrote on Twitter on Wednesday night that he was anticipating a withdrawal, saying “further scans in the morning but start unlikely as I can’t walk without crutches”. And he confirmed his abandonment less than 10 hours later.
Knocked sideways into a barrier & stone wall today. Further scans in the morning but start unlikely as I can’t walk without crutches #LV2015— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) September 2, 2015
Really appreciate all the messages of support, I did my best to hang in there today as best I could with the hope of continuing #LV2015— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) September 2, 2015
The Kenya-born Briton was hoping to become the third rider in history to win the Tour and Vuelta in the same year and first since the latter event was moved towards the end of the season. It used to take place in April.
Froome is no stranger to withdrawing from Grand Tours, having been forced to quit the 2014 Tour de France, which began in Yorkshire, with a fractured hand and a fractured wrist.
He responded by reclaiming the yellow jersey of Tour de France champion and was targeting a first red jersey as Tour of Spain winner, having finished runner-up in 2012 and 2014.
Froome hit a barrier and stone wall in the opening kilometres of the 138-kilometres stage, but finished the brutal test before undergoing scans which confirmed his injury.
Froome added on teamsky.com “I’m really gutted to be leaving the race but the injuries that I sustained on yesterday’s stage were too much to continue.
“I hit my right side heavily and the main impact went on my right foot.
“I was desperate to dig in and finish the stage and my team-mates did brilliantly to get me through it, but as soon as I got off the bike I couldn’t put any weight on my right side.
“An MRI scan has shown that I have fractured navicular bone in my right foot, so now I’ll work with our medical team on making a full recovery.
“This is a great group of guys and I would love to have fought on with them until the end. I wish them all the best with the remainder of the race and I’ll be cheering them on from home.
“I’d also like to thank the fans for all their support and get well messages. I’ll be back soon.”