Chris Horner will not race the Tour de France, according to a preliminary roster released by the RadioShack-Nissan team on Monday. The team announced the 14-rider long list for the race, which includes Andy and Fränk Schleck, Fabian Cancellara and Jens Voigt, but not Horner.
The American has battled a back injury since the Amgen Tour of California and missed planned starts at the USA Cycling Professional National Championships in late May and this week’s Tour de Suisse. In a release, team officials said they would announce the final, nine-man roster during the week of June 18.
Horner wrote on Twitter on Sunday night:
Just finished a 600 mile week. Legs are tired but should be coming around just in time! Weather is good for two more big weeks of training.
When contacted Monday afternoon, a RadioShack-Nissan spokesperson said that Horner’s back injury was keeping him from the race: “He’s unfortunately struggling with a back injury, which is why he’s also not in Suisse.”
Team press officer Philippe Maertens told VeloNews that missing the Tour de Suisse was the deciding factor in Horner’s omission from the Tour de France.
“Already at California, his back was not OK. That is also the reason why he is not in the Tour de Suisse this week,” said Maertens. “Without racing Swiss, it would be impossible for him to in the Tour de France.”
Maertens said Horner is still recovering from his back problems and will likely be able to race as planned at the Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge, in Colorado, later this season.
Horner, whose best Tour ride was ninth overall in 2010, crashed out of last year’s edition with a concussion. Later doctors discovered a potentially dangerous embolism in his lung and he didn’t return to racing until this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico, where he finished second overall.
Despite recent injuries and controversies surrounding some of the other RadioShack riders, Horner’s was the lone major name missing from the team’s Tour long list. Although they have both struggled with form and results this season so far, Andy and Fränk Schleck are both listed. So, too, are Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara and Andreas Klöden, both coming back from injuries and health problems that derailed their respective spring campaigns.
Popular veteran Jens Voigt, 40, is among those penciled in for the Tour squad. Voigt has been among the most consistent riders for the team all season, putting down some attacks just last week at the Tour of Luxembourg.
Behind those marquee names are strong riders, such as Jakob Fuglsang, who won the Tour of Luxembourg after missing a planned start in the Giro due to a hand injury, Linus Gerdemann, Maxime Monfort, Haimar Zubeldia and Yaroslav Popovych.
Others listed include workhorses Markel Irizar, Gregory Rast and Hayden Roulston as well as promising French sprinter Tony Gallopin.
VeloNews was unable to reach Horner for comment prior to publication of this story.
RadioShack-Nissan preliminary roster
2012 Tour de France
Editor’s Note: Neal Rogers and Brian Holcombe contributed to this story.