• Tour de France

Wiggins forced out of Tour de France

ESPN staff
May 31, 2013
Brad Wiggins won the Tour de France last year © PA Photos

Sir Bradley Wiggins will not defend his Tour de France title due to illness and injury.

The Team Sky rider recently pulled out of the Giro d'Italia due to illness and, after a recent knee injury was discovered to be more serious than first thought, Sky chief Sir Dave Brailsford confirmed the Olympic champion will simply not be fit enough to compete in this year's event.

"With illness, injury and treatment Brad has gone past the point where he can be ready for the Tour," Brailsford said. "It's a big loss but, given these circumstances, we won't consider him for selection."

The news means Chris Froome will definitely lead the Sky charge at the event, which begins on June 29.

Wiggins admitted it was a blow not to be able to defend the yellow jersey he won in 2012, but accepted he is currently in no fit state to compete in the event.

"It's a huge disappointment not to make the Tour," Wiggins said. "I desperately wanted to 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."

While Wiggins is now over the chest infection that forced him out of the Giro, Sky's team doctor Richard Freeman confirmed that an ongoing knee complaint will need weeks to recover fully.

"The chest infection that caused his withdrawal from the Giro has responded to treatment and rest. It has completely cleared up," Freeman said. "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 has 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."

Wiggins, 33, will look to come back stronger later in the year.

He added: "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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.