Saying a respiratory and knee issues are hindering his training, Sir Bradley Wiggins announces he will not take part in this year's Tour de France.
Sir Bradley Wiggins out of the Tour de France
The defending Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins has withdrawn from cycling's most important event after a chest infection and a knee injury left him unable to train.
Wiggins had already been told by Team Sky that he would be riding in support of teammate Chris Froome, next month in France, but the confirmed absence on Friday of last year's yellow jersey winner still represents a blow for all concerned.
Wiggins, whose fitness issues saw him withdraw from the Giro d'Italia earlier this month, said: "It's a huge disappointment not to make the Tour. I desperately wanted be there, for the team and for all the fans along the way, but it's not going to happen.
"I can't train the way I need to train and I'm not going to be ready. Once you accept that, it's almost a relief not having to worry about the injury and the race against time."
After the memorable achievements of 2012, which saw Wiggins become the first Briton to win the Tour before going on to win time-trial gold at the London Olympics, 2013 is becoming notable for all the wrong reasons.
Earlier this year he learned that Team Sky had nominated Froome as their lead rider and he would effectively not be defending his title, then he endured a troubled time at the Giro d'Italia, culminating with his withdrawal.
"With illness, injury and treatment Brad has gone past the point where he can be ready for the Tour," said Dave Brailsford, the Team Sky principal. "It's a big loss but, given these circumstances, we won't consider him for selection.
"He hasn't been able to train hard since the Giro and now he needs further rest. Whilst we all know these things happen in sport, it doesn't take away from the fact that this is a huge disappointment for everyone in the team - and above all for Brad.
"It's incredibly sad to have the reigning champion at Team Sky but not lining up at the Tour. But he's a champion, a formidable athlete and will come back winning as he has before."
Wiggins, who went out of the 2011 Tour when he suffered a broken collarbone in a crash, refused to be downbeat for himself or the team.
"I've been through this before, when I broke my collarbone, so I know how it works," he said. "I'll get this sorted, set new goals for this season and focus on those.
"This team has so many riders in great shape, ready for selection and we set incredible standards for performance which shouldn't be compromised. We need to have the best chance to win."
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