Italian rider Domenico Pozzovivo was taken to hospital after being involved in a horrific crash during stage three of the Giro d'Italia.
The AG2R-La Mondiale rider crashed on a descent and lay motionless for some time before he was put in an ambulance with a neck brace and survival blanket.
The rider himself has since spoken from hospital saying he remembers nothing about the crash.
The 32-year-old finished fifth overall in last year's race.
"In a stage like this, anything can happen around any corner, like it did with the crash of Pozzovivo," said Etixx - Quick Step's Rigoberto Uran.
"I saw him crash in front of me. I hope that it is nothing serious, and I wish him all the best."
Pozzovivo, seen as one of the contenders in the general classification, hit the ground head first with about 40km (24.9 miles) left in the 136km (84.5-mile) race between Rapallo and Sestri Levante.
As television cameras zoomed in on Pozzovivo when he lay prone on the ground, Britain's 2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome tweeted: "Is it really necessary to show these images of Pozzovivo at the #Giro2015? Have some respect for the rider and his family!"
The scenes evoked memories of the third stage in 2011 when Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt died after crashing during the third stage.
Australia's Michael Matthews, of the Orica Green-Edge team, took the stage win in a bunch sprint to retain the Maglia Rosa.
|BBC Sport's Matt Slater in Italy|
|"Monday's stage was meant to be an excuse to showcase the beauty of the Italian Riviera, instead it became a reminder of how dangerous cycling is when every second counts, but also how intrusive television can be.|
|"Australia's Michael Matthews extended his lead with a powerful sprint for the win, but it was Domenico Pozzovivo's terrifying crash that will live longer in the memory, partly because it looked like it could have been fatal.|
|"Thankfully the Italian is OK. Bashed up but able to phone his dad from his hospital bed in Genoa.|