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Defending champ Bradley Wiggins won't race in Tour de France

May 31, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • Bradley Wiggins, shown celebrating his 2012 Tour de France victory, has withdrawn from this year's event because of a knee injury.
Bradley Wiggins, shown celebrating his 2012 Tour de France victory, has… (Pascal Pavani / AFP / Getty…)

Bradley Wiggins won't get the chance to defend his Tour de France title this year.

Team Sky announced Friday that the first British rider ever to win the event won't have sufficient time to train for this year's race due to an ongoing knee problem.

“It’s a huge disappointment not to make the Tour," Wiggins told the Team Sky website. "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."

Wiggins has been battling inflammation in his left knee for several weeks. He also had to withdraw during the Giro d'Italia earlier this month due to a chest infection, a condition that team doctor Richard Freeman said has since cleared up.

But Freeman said that the knee condition "was more significant than we thought." He says the rider will be fine but ordered Wiggins to rest the knee for five days after intense treatment.

That would leave him with insufficient time to train for the Tour of Switzerland, which starts June 8, and then unprepared for the Tour de France at the end of the month.

"It’s incredibly sad to have the reigning champion at Team Sky but not lining up at the Tour," team principal Dave Brailsford said. "But he’s a champion, a formidable athlete and will come back winning as he has before."

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