Mountain specialist Dan Martin will miss the Tour de France with a knee injury. He will be replaced in the Garmin-Slipstream team by Dutch rider Martijn Maaskant.
Martin has tendinitis and the team does not want to risk aggravating the problem during the three-week race. The former Irish national champion said Thursday that "I would have loved to start the Tour, but I want what is best for the team."
The Tour starts Saturday in Monaco and ends July 26.
Martin was to be a key ally for Christian Vande Velde in the grueling mountain stages.
Vande Velde finished fifth in last year's Tour.