By Jean-François Quénet
For the second year in a row, Française des Jeux will start the Tour de France without Bradley McGee.
The Australian, who has been suffering from a recurring back problem, had shown that he was on the road to recovery during the Tour of Picardy, where he launched an impressive attack before a bunch sprint finish, but he has pulled out of the Tour de Lorraine.
The problem, a herniated disc in his spine, is severe enough that the popular Aussie will not be able to simply rest through the middle of the season and return for post-Tour racing as he did last year. "He has to undergo an operation because of the disc hernia," team manager Marc Madiot said.