The 2013 Tour de France will be without it’s most recent winner after Sir Bradley Wiggins confirmed he will miss the race due to illness and injury.
Chris Froome has been installed as the favourite to triumph this year, after recording a second-place finish behind Wiggins last summer.
A combination of the chest infection that forced him to withdraw from the Giro d’Italia and his long-standing knee complaint caused Wiggins to abandon his pursuit of returning to action to compete for the coveted yellow jersey.
Froome – who was given leader status by Team Sky for this campaign – is priced at 11/10 now to win the Tour de France, the comprehensive favourite for victory with Ladbrokes.
Olympic champions Wiggins revealed the news that he would lose his bid to return to fitness in France, saying: “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,” Wiggins continued. “Once you accept that, it’s almost a relief not having to worry about the injury and the race against time.
“I’ve been through this before, when I broke my collarbone [in the 2011 Tour], so I know how it works. I’ll get this sorted, set new goals for this season and focus on those.
“This team has so many riders in great shape, ready for selection and we set incredible standards for performance which shouldn’t be compromised. We need to have the best chance to win.”
The injury removes a developing headache for Team Sky, who had backed Froome for 2013 despite Wiggins vocally insisting he wanted to defend his title rather than play a support-role this season.
But the 33-year-old returned to the UK last month after being forced to pull out of the Giro d’Italia, receiving treatment for his chest infection, while rest, and having further assessments done on his knee.
However, Wiggins was left unable to train with any intensity and will now focus on the prizes available at the end of the season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.