Tour de France winner Chris Froome has withdrawn from Tirreno-Adriatico as a result of joint inflammation in his lower back, Team Sky confirmed.
Australian Richie Porte has moved from Sky’s Paris-Nice line-up to replace the Briton, with Geraint Thomas taking over as team leader at the French event.
Sky’s Dr Alan Farrell said: “Chris has suffered a slight inflammation to the sacroiliac joint in the lower back.
“As a precaution, we have chosen to withdraw him from next week’s Tirreno-Adriatico so he can focus on recovering and preparing for the Volta a Catalunya.”
Froome then wrote on Twitter about his disappointment at missing out, but accepted it was the right decision.
He posted: “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.
“It’s disappointing to miss out on a week of solid racing, but rather safe than sorry at this point of the season.”
Team Sky performance manager Rod Ellingworth added: “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.”
It is a big opportunity for Thomas to be given the leadership role at Paris-Nice. Fellow Briton Ben Swift has been given a late call-up to today’s Strade Bianche. Sir Bradley Wiggins will now no longer ride the weekend’s one-day event but is still slated to line up alongside Porte at Tirreno on Wednesday.