- Tour de France
Froome loses key ally ahead of Tour
Chris Froome's hopes of defending his Tour de France title were dealt a blow after key support rider Edvald Boasson Hagen was ruled out of the race with an achilles injury.
Boassan Hagen has been a fixture in Team Sky's squad since their Tour de France debut in 2010 and rode for the team at last month's Giro d'Italia.
But the Norwegian, who suffered a fractured shoulder during last year's Tour, will now miss his country's national championships as well as cycling's blue riband event.
"I had some rest after the Giro and when I started training again unfortunately an Achilles problem has flared up," Boassan Hagen said. "We hoped it was getting better but it became an issue again at [last week's] Route du Sud.
"I would really like to have ridden the Norwegian national championships. They are always a proud moment for me but the important thing is to make sure I fully recover and focus on the rest of the season, hopefully starting with the Tour of Poland in August.
"I've raced at the Tour de France every year since I've joined Team Sky. Obviously I would love to be competing there and it's tough to know I won't be in the team - but I also need to think about the rest of the season by concentrating on making a full recovery and racing well later in the year."
Boasson Hagen now faces questions about his future, with some level of uncertainty over whether he will remain with Team Sky.
The team have not confirmed if he has signed a contract extension, with his current deal set to end this season.
Team Sky's preparations for this year's Tour de France have been plagued by questions over whether Froome and 2012 champion Bradley Wiggins will race together in the same squad. The Tour gets under way on Saturday, July 5 in Yorkshire, with the first stage taking riders from Leeds to Harrogate.