CHRIS FROOME suffered his horror KO from the Tour de France when he tried to blow his nose just as winds whipped up.
The four-time winner was airlifted to hospital with a broken leg and elbow after losing control at 40mph and smashing into a wall.
And Team Ineos boss Dave Brailsford blamed freak circumstances for the cycling legend’s “multiple serious injuries”.
Brailsford said: “At the start of the descent, Chris wanted to blow his nose, and at that moment, a sharp gust of wind pushed him against a low wall along the side of the road.
“Chris remained conscious after the crash. Luckily there happened to be an ambulance right there.
“Sometimes we wonder what they’re doing on the side of the road, but we were lucky that help came so fast.”
Froome, 34, is out for the season, not just next month’s Tour, after injuries that might even raise questions about if he will return at all
Brailsford added: “This is very hard for Chris. He was in magnificent condition for a fifth victory in the Tour.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him at this level.”
Froome fractured his right femur, elbow and ribs after slamming into a wall “at high speed” during a warm-up for stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine in France.
The 34-year-old had taken his hands off the handlebars when he lost control following a strong gust of wind in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes in Roanne, France.
As a helicopter took Froome away, Team Ineos confirmed he had been “ruled out of the rest of the race and will also miss the 2019 Tour de France“.
Team doctor Richard Usher said: “Chris was taken to Roanne Hospital where initial examinations confirmed multiple injuries.
“We will now turn our focus towards supporting him in his recovery.”
L’Equipe reported his £10,000 Pinarello time-trial bike had damage to its right side.
Froome’s absence from the Tour de France will be severely felt as he is one of cycling’s biggest names.
Froome won Le Tour in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
He was due to start stage four of the Dauphine, a 16-mile individual time trial.
The Kenya-born Brit was eighth on general classification, 24 seconds down on leader Dylan Teuns, but tipped to make gains during the time trial.
Before the Dauphine,, Froome trained with his team in Tenerife, using Mt Teide to simulate French mountains.
MOST READ IN SPORT
He had focused his season around the Tour after an incredible Giro d’Italia win last year left him jaded for the biggest race of the year.
Instead, team-mate Geraint Thomas won the three-week race for the first time as Froome was forced to play second fiddle in Team Sky and finished third.
Sky have since had new ownership and a name change and Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos will also race at the Tour de Suisse, led by Thomas, starting on Saturday.