The cycling world has been left shocked by the gruesome injuries revealed by star riders after a freak hail storm in the middle of the Criterium du Dauphine in France.
Many riders were left with painful welts spotted across their shoulder and back after a flash hailstorm fell on the peloton after the stage 2 ride from Vienne to Col de Port in the iconic Pyrenees mountain range.
The stage quickly became a nightmare for riders when heavy rain and hail began to fall in the middle of the climb — but it only got truly scary for the riders and support staff after winner Primoz Roglic had crossed the line and clinched the overall lead of the race.
With some sections of the field still crossing the line, the storm whipped into a devastating hail upsurge which broke apart temporary event structures and sent panicked riders scurrying for cover.
The powerful hailstorm was described by team Israel Start-Up Nation as "worse than anything we experienced".
"The scene was total chaos and mayhem ... riders running for cover, hit hard by icy mini ping pong balls," the team said on Twitter.
The team also described the road as an instant ice rink as the hail took just seconds to cover the scene.
Jumbo-Visma's Tony Martin was saved by a trackside fan who handed him an inflated rubber raft to protect himself from the falling ice balls.
According to reports, the freak storm included heavy hail stones that left countless riders, spectators and staff with serious bruising.
Standout domestique Tim Declercq posted the gruesome results of the hail storm on his Instagram page, writing "As if Le Dauphine was not painful enough for the legs! #hailstones"
The end of the official podium presentations were cancelled when the roof of the temporary dais was blown off.
Many riders were struck down and forced off their bikes before the finish line of the stage.
Some were seen huddling under trees alongside terrified spectators, while other cyclists are reported to have jumped in random cars within the convoy trailing the field.
Riders caught in the storm showed off their painful injuries on social media after the stage.
The third stage went ahead overnight, as the race is a crucial build-up race for the Tour de France, which begins in a fortnight.