Tom Boonen will not ride in this year’s Tour de France due to an injury to his left knee.

The Belgian sprinter’s Quick Step team announced on Friday that Boonen will sit out the Tour due to patellar tendonitis in his left leg. The decision was made after Boonen was assessed by medical staff at a clinic in Herentals.

>>> Cycling knee pain: everything you need to know

Boonen will also have to miss the Belgian national championships.

“I’m very sad,” Boonen said. “After three days of rest, yesterday I trained for five hours on the parcours of the National Championship in Leuven. The knee pain has always accompanied me.

“During the last hour of training I had to stop more than once because of the pain. Everything is began with the crash in California and the situation became even worse after the fall in Switzerland.”

Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevre added: “It’s really a terrible news for us, the Tour passes through the Netherlands and Belgium. The team will ride for four days on the roads near home. Even the stage of Arenberg was very important for us considering the characteristics of our team and the palmares of Boonen on the cobblestones races.

“But we can’t stop, life goes on. I’m sure the team that will partecipate in the Tour will do the best even without Tom. The negative moments often open up many opportunities.”

Boonen’s replacement in Quick Step’s nine-man Tour team will be announced on Monday, June 28.

Boonen won the Tour’s points classification (green jersey) in 2007. The following year, 2008, Boonen was barred from riding in the Tour after testing positive for cocaine. He tested positive for cocaine again in 2009, but a court ruling allowed him to ride in the Tour. However, he withdrew after stage 14 due to illness. A full list of his wins and a career summary can be found in CW’s rider profile of Tom Boonen>>.

The 2010 Tour de France starts in Rotterdam on Saturday, July 3 and finishes in Paris on Sunday, July 25.

Related links

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index