Race Marianne Vos had been leading the race when she was forced to abandon the Women’s Tour of Britain after a high-speed crash during stage three.

The former world champion took over the race lead when she won the bunch sprint at Kent Cyclopark on stage two.

The Dutch racer’s time on top of the standings was cut short after she hit her head in a collision which took place as she was increasing her speed for an immediate sprint on the third day.

The CCC-Liv rider said: “The speed went up in preparation for the second intermediate sprint. For me there was a fall because of a hole in the way. I could no longer avoid it. I fell hard on my head, and apart from cuts and scratches, I didn’t get much from it.

“I want to go to the hospital because the cut had to be stitched. Very unfortunate, I was quite upset by it because I was in such a good position.

“But even after a fall, the race continues. Unfortunately, that is without me.”

Apart from Vos, team-mates Jeanne Korevaar and Valerie Demey were forced to abandon the race as a result of the collision as well as Trek-Segafredo’s Trixi Worrack.

The crash happened around 65km into the 145.1km stage three of the Women’s Tour, from Henley-on-Thames to Blenheim Palace, as the race left Didcot.

Race officials enforced a neutralisation on the race after the crash, which was restarted shortly after.

Marianne Vos led the race by nine seconds over Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) at the start of the day.

The Dutchwoman had powered into the race lead with a peerless sprint on the Cyclopark stage, with Deignan trailing to finish in second.

News of Vos’s abandonment came not long after it emerged that Chris Froome had been forced to abandon the Critérium du Dauphiné due to a crash.

Froome fell during a recon of the individual time trial stage and was taken to hospital.

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