Froome out of Tirreno, Thomas to lead in France

Chris Froome has pulled out of next week's Tirreno - Adriatico stage race in Italy with a bad back. - Richie Porte will head to Italy and lead Team Sky - Geraint Thomas will take on responsibility at Paris-Nice - Paris-Nice organiser ASO not happy with 'cavalier' attitude

Chris Froome and Richie Porte, Tour de France 2013, stage 14
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

Chris Froome has pulled out of Tirreno - Adriatico next week after he suffered a slight inflammation to a joint in his lower back. Froome was due to lead the team in the only stage race he didn't win in 2013.

The Tour de France winner will now rest before returning to racing at the Volta a Catalunya, the seven-stage race that starts in Calella, north east Spain on March 24.

Froome posted on his Twitter feed today: "Slight inflammation in my lower back, so I'll be putting my feet up for a few days on doctors orders. No racing for me in Tirreno next week."

"It's disappointing to miss out on a week of solid racing, but rather safe than sorry at this point of the season."

Team Sky will now juggle its various rosters in this busy period of the season. Instead of moving Sir Bradley Wiggins in to the leader's position at Tirreno, they will draft in Australian Richie Porte. Wiggins has now pulled out of Strade Bianche tomorrow and has been replaced by Ben Swift.

Porte, who's main aim in 2014 is the Giro d'Italia, was due to ride Paris-Nice, a race he won last year, but will instead head to Italy. Porte was fourth at this year's Tour Down Under and second at the recent Ruta del Sol.

This leaves Sky's Paris-Nice team without a leader. Step forward Geraint Thomas. The young Brit is building towards the classics season and rarely gets the chance to lead the team at the WorldTour stage races thanks to the presence of the likes of Wiggins, Froome and Porte.

Organisers of the event, ASO, have however reacted angrily to the news that defending champion Porte was pulling out of their race. "We find it cavalier to have the reigning champion pull out just before the start," Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme told AFP.

"We were told that to win points for the world rankings, the Tirreno was more favourable due to it's technical characteristics."

Sky's Tirreno squad looks particularly strong. Riding with Wiggins and Porte will be; Dario Cataldo, Bernhard Eisel, Peter Kennaugh, Mikel Nieve, Kanstantsin Siutsou and Ian Stannard.

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Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. He fell in love with cycling when channel surfing in 1989 and happening across the greatest ever edition of the Tour de France. He's been a Greg LeMond fan ever since. He started racing in 1995 when moving to university in North Wales gave him more time to train and some amazing roads to train on. He raced domestically for several years, riding everything from Surrey leagues to time trials, track and even a few Premier Calendars. In 2000 he spent one season racing in Belgium with the Kingsnorth International Wheelers. 


Since working for Cycling Weekly he has written product reviews, fitness features, pro interviews, race coverage and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. He can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer but he still hasn't completed the CW5000 challenge!


SIMON IS CURRENTLY RIDING

Road bike: Pinarello K8S with Shimano Dura Ace

TT bike: Specialized Venge road bike with FFWD wheels and Easton Attack TT bars

Gravel bike: N/A

Training bike: Rourke custom hand made with Reynolds 853 steel