Team Sky has announced Sir Bradley Wiggins will not start this year’s Tour de France. The defending champion has been taken out of running due to a knee injury after recovering from the illness he picked up at the Giro d’Italia.

Sir Dave Brailsford said in a press release; “With illness, injury and treatment Brad has gone past the point where he can be ready for the Tour. 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”

Sir Bradley Wiggins 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.

“I’ve been through this before, when I broke my collarbone, so I know how it works. I’ll get this sorted, set new goals for this season and focus on those.”

Wiggins had targetted the Giro d’Italia this season, but after a promising start he slipped back as he succumbed to illness. He eventually pulled out after stage 12, unable to compete in the terrible conditions as illness took hold.

Before the Giro had even started Wiggins had thrown a spanner in team Sky’s Tour preparation when he said he would like a shot at winning the Tour if he was selected. Although he admitted the decision was ultimately down to the team, he cast doubt on the original plan that he would work for Chris Froome after Froome had worked for him last year.

Wiggins’ statement drew a response from Froome who put out his own statement confirming the fact that he had been assured team leadership at the Tour. The withdrawal of Wiggins from Tour selection may see the loss of one of Sky’s strongest riders, but it does put to bed any questions over leadership.

On Wiggins’s current condition, Team Sky’s Doctor Richard Freeman said: “The chest infection that caused his withdrawal from the Giro has responded to treatment and rest. It has completely cleared up. However,

further medical investigations on the knee injury that we were managing

at the Giro showed the condition was more significant than we thought.”

“It’s

needed intensive treatment and, whilst it will be fully resolved,

Bradley now needs to rest completely for five days before a gradual,

return to full training over a period of two to three weeks.”

Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release wherever you are in the world with our iPad and iPhone edition – International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!