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Wiggins to miss Tour de France

May 31, 2013 at 1:48 PM   |   Comments

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LONDON, May 31 (UPI) -- Bradley Wiggins said Friday he won't defend his 2012 Tour de France title due to injury and illness.

Team Sky, for which Wiggins rides, made the formal announcement Friday. The team said Wiggins has a knee injury and is recovering from a chest infection. He withdrew this month from the Giro d'Italia.

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

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

Wiggins won the 2012 Tour de France, moving in front after Stage 7 and never giving up the yellow jersey after that, to become the first British rider to take cycling's most prestigious race.

He later won an Olympic gold medal in the time trial, as well as Criterium de Dauphine, Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie last year.

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

The 100th Tour de France is to begin June 29 on the island of Corsica.

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