SIX riders have been forced out the OVO Energy Women's Tour after a crash reportedly caused by a 'pothole'.

The Women’s Tour, Britain’s longest-running professional women’s race, stormed through the county yesterday after starting its third stage in Henley.

Around 100 riders set off on the 145 kilometre-leg from Hart Street in the centre of the town at 10.30am, before heading through, Watlington, Sonning Common, Goring, Wallingford, Didcot, Wantage, Faringdon, and looping through to West Oxfordshire where the stage finally finished in Woodstock.

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But it was during the riders stint through Didcot when disaster struck for six riders who came crashing out the race after one cyclist allegedly hit a 'pothole'.

Overall leader Marianne Vos crashed out of the Tour mid-stage after a peloton crash near Didcot.

The former world champion needed treatment after sustaining cuts on her face.

Her team released a statement, it said: "The speed went up in preparation for the second intermediate sprint.

"There was a fall before me, due to a dent in the road, which I could not avoid.

"I fell hard on my head and, apart from a cut and some scratches, I don’t have any other injuries. Yet I went 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, but this time without me."

The race had to be suspended for about 30 minutes while officials dealt with the pileup and those involved received treatment from paramedics.

At least three cyclists from the CCC-Liv Team were taken to hospital after the crash, and reports suggest this number was up to 10 people overall.

 A statement from race organisers Sweetspot has denied that a 'pothole' was to blame for the crash and said it was a 'racing incident'.

The statement said: "​It was not in any way caused by road conditions.

“We have worked closely with Oxfordshire County Council, who have spent three weeks on the route inspecting and carrying out necessary repair work.

“There was a further final inspection yesterday, before the race, involving us and the council. Our own inspector goes out 45 minutes ahead of the race and they were happy with the route. No issues were found on this section of road.

“It is impossible to say what caused the accident.”