Defending champion Sir Bradley Wiggins has withdrawn from the Tour de France after a chest infection and a knee injury left him unable to train.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 team-mate Chris Froome, but the absence of last year’s yellow jersey winner still represents a huge 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.”