LONDON (AFP) - Reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome said Tuesday he was deliberately knocked off his bicycle by a hit-and-run driver while training in southern France.
The British rider posted a picture of his badly damaged bike on Twitter but said he had escaped injury.
"Just got rammed on purpose by an impatient driver who followed me onto the pavement! Thankfully I'm okay. Bike totaled. Driver kept going!" tweeted the 31-year-old Froome, a three-time winner of the Tour, road cycling's most prestigious race. He added an emoji of hands clasped in prayer.
The picture was geotagged from Beausoleil, near Froome's home in Monaco, and retweeted more than 12,000 times in just a few hours.
Froome rides for the British-based Team Sky and will defend his title when the Tour de France begins in Dusseldorf, Germany, on July 1.
Sky said Froome returned home to get a spare bike and continued his training after the incident.
Froome is training for June's Criterium du Dauphine, his familiar warm-up event before the Tour de France between July 1-23. He is favourite to win the event for a third successive year.
French police had no immediate response, while Spanish star cyclist Alberto Contador tweeted the picture of Froome's mangled bike and the words: "No comment...!!!"
The incident was just another reminder of the continued perils faced by professional cyclists on the road during training rides.
It occurred less than three weeks since the death of 37-year-old Michele Scarponi, the former Giro d'Italia winner, who was struck by a van while training in Italy.
His team, Astana, described the death of Scarponi, a husband and father of two, as a 'tragedy too big to be written'.