Swedish rider Freddy Johansson (Plowman craven Evans Cycles) has pulled out of the Tour of Ireland, which started today, due to injury.

The 21-year-old severely damaged his knee during a crash in the final Premier Calendar race ten days ago, the Tour of Pendle. Doctors have advised him not to ride in the foreseeable future.

Team manager, Gerry Beckett, said: ?Freddy has a serious injury and we don?t want him taking any chances. At 21 he has time on his side and his focus needs to be on properly diagnosing and sorting his injury, not making it worse by riding.?

Johansson will be replaced by new signing Simon Richardson. The 24-year-old formerly rode for Volkswagon?trek in mountain bike and Premier Calendar events such as he Bikeline and Rutland races.

Johansson has been blighted with injury in his career. He crashed heavily during last winter on Newport track when training with Magnus Backstedt.