CHRIS FROOME suffered his horror KO from the Tour de France when he tried to blow his nose at 40mph just as winds whipped up.
The four-time winner was airlifted to hospital with a broken leg and elbow after losing control and smashing into a wall.
And Team Ineos boss Dave Brailsford blamed freak circumstances for the cycling legend’s “multiple serious injuries” in a warm-up for stage four of France’s Criterium du Dauphine.
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 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.
The 34-year-old fractured his right femur, elbow and ribs.
Brailsford said: “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.”
Team doctor Richard Usher added: “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.
And Froome’s absence from the Tour de France will be severely felt as he is one of the sport’s top names.
Froome won Le Tour in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
And until his latest injuries he was due to contest 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.
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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.