RadioShack-Leopard announced on Friday morning that it would keep Chris Horner benched for the Tour de France, due to a lingering knee issue that ultimately required surgery.
The team said that Horner will not be able to take the start in Corsica on June 29, as he recovers from his knee operation from two weeks ago. Horner has suffered from iliotibial (IT) band friction syndrome since the end of Tirreno-Adriatico.
Horner has completed the Tour five times, and withdrawn once, in 2011, after a hard crash and a concussion. His best finish of ninth place came in 2010 and the American, popular for his affable nature and spot-on summation of racing tactics, finished 13th last year.
Horner missed a home-race in the Amgen Tour of California last month, a race he won in 2011, with knee pain as well, and has had a very quiet spring due to injury.
The climber abandoned the Vuelta a Catalunya in March and was a last-minute scratch from April’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country), which he won in 2010.
It’s been feast or famine since the start of the season for RadioShack, which sees most of its stage-race potential now hinge upon the shoulders of Andy Schleck, who has had a difficult time returning from injury at the Critérium du Dauphiné last year, but enjoyed a remarkable classics campaign thanks to Fabian Cancellara’s wins at the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) and Paris-Roubaix. Cancellara, it was revealed on Friday, will skip the Tour to prepare for the world championships.
Off the bikes, it’s also been tough sledding for the ‘Shack team, as reports surfaced earlier this week that owner Flavio Becca was out, and will opt to sell the team’s UCI WorldTour license to Trek.