Chris Froome (Team Sky) has withdrawn from Tirreno-Adriatico due to joint inflammation in the lower back, prompting a reshuffle in the British team’s plans for this month.
Froome, who finished second behind Vincenzo Nibali in the race last year – the only race on his pre-Tour de France programme that he did not win – was due to lead the team while Richie Porte led Sky at Paris-Nice.
However, the Kenyan-born Brit will now be replaced as leader at Tirreno-Adriatico by Porte, supported by Sir Bradley Wiggins, with Geraint Thomas stepping up to lead the team at Paris-Nice in the Australian’s place.
Sky insist Froome’s withdrawal is purely precautionary however, with performance director Rod Ellingworth telling the team website: “This is just a minor setback for Chris and we hope he will get back to full training within a week.
“He’s obviously disappointed to miss Tirreno-Adriatico but we shouldn’t take any chances at this stage of the season.”
Slight inflammation in my lower back, so I’ll be putting my feet up for a few days on doctors orders. No racing for me in Tirreno next week.
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) March 7, 2014
Porte, winner at Paris-Nice last year, now gets the chance to compete on Italian soil ahead of his Giro d’Italia bid in the summer.
Sky also confirmed that Wiggins, another due to race at Tirenno-Adriatico, will no longer compete at Strade Bianche on Saturday (March 8) as had been originally planned.
Wiggins’ place in Tuscany will instead go to Ben Swift, with Luke Rowe also withdrawn to fill the Paris-Nice spot vacated by Porte.