TOBY Price’s 2017 Dakar Rally is over.
The reigning champion crashed at over 90km/h in a river bed late in Stage 4 of the event, from San Salvador de Jujuy to Tupiza, while leading the stage.
A KTM spokesperson told foxsports.com.au that Price has been airlifted to a hospital in the Bolivian capital La Paz, where he will undergo surgery on a broken left femur.
The crash happened with just 45 kilometres of the 416km test remaining, just after a neutralised section of the stage which saw the rally pass into Bolivia.
Price had been battling for the stage win with overall leader Joan Barreda, the KTM rider having surpassed the Honda by 95 seconds at the final waypoint before his crash.
“He had just got in front of (Barreda) when he crashed in a riverbed at the 371 km mark,” a statement from KTM said.
“The medical team reported he had fractured the thighbone in his left leg when he was only a few kilometers from Tupiza in southern Bolivia, where the stage finished.”
Honda rival Paulo Goncalves was first on the scene and stopped to help, sacrificing 20 minutes of his rally to wait for the medical helicopter.
“Doesn’t matter the outcome today … Price fell in front of me and needed my help,” Goncalves said at stage end.
Rules give officials the ability to give him those lost minutes back, given the circumstances.
Price’s KTM teammate Matthias Walkner went on to claim the stage win, having briefly stopped at the crash scene.
“I got to him about five minutes after the crash and Adrien Van Beveren and Paulo Goncalves had already stopped,” he said.
“I saw he was awake and they told me he was more or less okay, so I kept on going.
“Where he crashed it was in a riverbed, where the ground changed very quickly. First it was sandy and you could go flat out at 140km/h, but then you came to some big stones and it’s very hard to find the right speed. If you hit a stone with the motorbike then its difficult.”