Britain’s Geraint Thomas has been forced to pull out of the Giro d’Italia because of a fractured hip.
The Ineos Grenadiers rider, 34, crashed just before the start of Monday’s third stage after a drinks bottle became lodged under his front wheel.
The Welshman completed the stage but lost more than 12 minutes, effectively ending his hopes of winning the race.
A scan on Monday was inconclusive but a second on Tuesday morning showed a fracture.
“It’s so frustrating. I’d put so much work in to this race,” said Thomas, who won the Tour de France in 2018.
“I did everything I could and feel like I was in just as good, if not better shape, than when I won the Tour. I was feeling really good. So for it just to end like this is gutting.
“I was really up for starting today. I woke up and wanted to start with the boys and at least help them go for stages over the next few days, but deep down I knew something wasn’t right, so we went to get these extra scans.
“It does make the decision easier when there’s a fracture in some ways, because obviously I don’t want to do anymore damage.”
Thomas was among the favourites to win this year’s Giro before his crash during the neutralised zone before the start of Monday’s mountainous stage up to Mount Etna.
He appeared to be riding comfortably despite badly torn kit and landing on his hip.
But Thomas slipped back from the peloton about 25km from the end of the stage.
Ineos Grenadiers doctor Phil Riley said: “Geraint had an MRI and a CT scan this morning [Tuesday] which revealed a small undisplaced fracture in the lower part of the pelvis which wasn’t picked up on the X-rays yesterday.
“As a precaution he will be withdrawn from the race as it’s an injury that could easily be aggravated.”