Chris Froome pulls out of Vuelta a Espana with foot injury after crash

Chris Froome injured his knee during the crash
Froome cut his knee during the crash and slipped to 15th in the GC

Two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has pulled out of the Vuelta a Espana following a crash during Wednesday's 11th stage.

Scans have shown the 30-year-old Briton fractured a bone in his foot when he hit a barrier in the Pyrenees.

Froome had started Wednesday's stage 78 seconds off the lead, but finished it more than seven minutes adrift.

The Team Sky rider was hoping to become only the third man to win both the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same year.

Chris Froome tweet
Chris Froome won the Tour de France for a second time in July

Froome said he was "knocked sideways into a barrier and stone wall" early in the 11th stage, which contained four category one climbs and a special category ascent.

He struggled home almost nine minutes behind Spanish stage winner Mikel Landa, and initially said he hoped to be able to continue.

But Froome later admitted his continued participation was unlikely as he needed crutches to be able to walk.

After withdrawing from the race, he said: "This is a great group of guys and I would love to have fought on with them until the end. I wish them all the best with the remainder of the race and I'll be cheering them on from home."

As well as the disqualification of Italian Vincenzo Nibali for being towed by his Astana team car, the tour has lost several other riders to injury.

Nairo Quintana (left) and Chris Froome
Froome did not make it beyond Wednesday's 11th stage, while Nairo Quintana (left) also struggled

Belgian rider Kris Boeckmans remains in an induced coma after a serious crash on the eighth stage, which also forced general classification contenders Dan Martin and Tejay van Garderen to retire.

On the same day, stage-three winner Peter Sagan was hit by an auxiliary motorcycle. Tinkoff-Saxo team-mate Sergio Paulinho was also forced to retire after being hit by a TV motorcycle on Wednesday.

Italian Fabio Aru leads the race by 27 seconds from Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain.

The 21-stage Grand Tour finishes in Madrid on 13 September.

The end of a superb 2015 season?

BBC Sport cycling correspondent Matt Slater:

"No athlete wants to quit a race, so Chris Froome will be bitterly disappointed about this setback, particularly as the cause of his injury came at the most innocuous point of a frightening day.

"But that is all this is, a setback. He has been hurt before and he will be hurt again. Nobody can question his bouncebackability. And if nothing else, this highlights the difficulty of what he was attempting.

"Grand Tours require good luck. The question now is will we see him ride the team and individual time trials at the World Championships in Richmond, Virginia, at the end of the month, as planned, or will he effectively call time on his superb 2015 campaign.

"That will depend on the broken bone in his foot."