• Philippe Gilbert (BMC) will not start the 2015 Tour de France (Getty) (AFP)Source: AFP
BMC Racing’s Philippe Gilbert was forced to withdraw from the Tour de Suisse overnight with an injury that also leaves him out of contention for the Tour de France.
Cycling Central

17 Jun 2015 - 10:11 AM  UPDATED 17 Jun 2015 - 10:15 AM

The team’s chief medical officer, Dr Max Testa, said a recent MRI revealed a small, non-displaced fracture on Gilbert's lower leg, likely related to his crash at La Flèche Wallonne in April.

"The MRI showed a small fracture of the postero-lateral tibia head," said Dr. Testa. "The fracture is small, and not involving the joint articular surface and the injury is not worrisome for his cycling career.

"Philippe had no particular pain on the bike. But he had been complaining of knee discomfort, especially off of it, and especially going up and down stairs. So we decided to look into it."

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Jim Ochowicz, the team’s general manager, said he and Gilbert mutually agreed the former world road champion and recent double stage winner at the Giro d'Italia will not participate in this year's Tour de France.

"We had a productive and open discussion regarding his current health and the second part of his season and goals," said Ochowicz. "The eight riders that we do select to support Tejay van Garderen will be chosen based on current health and performance. We want the best eight candidates at the start in Utrecht and right now Philippe is not at his best."

Gilbert said while it is disappointing not to be able to be considered for the Tour de France, he is already looking ahead to some big goals for the later part of the season.

"Of course, I was motivated for the Tour because it is going to pass in a part of Belgium and there is also the nice finish on the Mur de Huy. But the Tour de France is every year. It is not like I am missing something like the Olympic Games. I have already done it a few times and have had a lot of success at this race already," said Gilbert.

"A big goal for me is always the worlds and Il Lombardia, which is one of the nicest classics of the season.

I know with these problems, I can maybe go to the Tour, but not at 100 percent. Even if I do this, I will finish the Tour completely empty and that will mean I will do everything, the Tour and the end of the season, at 80 percent.

So at this point, I have to make a choice to skip the Tour. My first objective is to feel healthy again and not feel the pain anymore." - Philippe Gilbert

Ochowicz said the team expects to announce its nine-man roster for the race sometime after the Tour de Suisse, which ends on Sunday night.