Jerusalem: Chris Froome crashed in a training ride before the Giro d'Italia start in Jerusalem on Friday, dashing his hopes of putting the drama of his adverse doping test behind him.
Four-time Tour de France winner Froome hit the ground during his ride and suffered cuts and abrasions to the right side of his body, where his shorts and jersey were also torn.
Like all 176 riders starting the Italian tour on Friday's 9.7-kilometre opening stage time-trial around Jerusalem, Froome had taken advantage of the cordoned-off street course to embark on a reconnaissance ride.
But his practice ride was cut short -- and caught on camera by an eagle-eyed Twitter user -- although he was able to pedal back to his Team Sky bus to receive treatment from doctors.
Sky said there was no significant damage but it was nonetheless a blow to the race favourite, who has been under pressure in the build-up due after testing positive for elevated levels of asthma medication salbutamol during last year's Vuelta a Espana, which he won.
Froome is attempting to become only the third man in history to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time, having also won last year's Tour de France.
He escaped a provisional suspension over the adverse analytical finding in his urine sample at the Vuelta because salbutamol is allowed in certain doses.
But he would have been hoping to steal a march on many of his rivals for pink jersey glory as he is a time-trial specialist, having won Olympic and world championship bronze medals in the discipline.
"I think we could see gaps of up to 20 or 30 seconds between the main contenders, especially on such a technical, tough circuit, up and down," Froome had said before the race.
He had also spoken on Wednesday of his preference for hot weather -- something that Jerusalem was providing in spades.