The Belgian all-rounder won Etoile de Bessèges earlier in the year but then came down with illness at the Tour de la Provence a few days later. He returned to racing and has raced a full programme through the spring and early summer but has failed to take a win and looks shorn of his best form.
In a statement released by his Lotto Soudal team, the 30-year-old admitted that his body had not been responding to training, that he lacked sufficient power to be competitive, and that further tests were needed.
"At the moment, my body isn’t reacting to the training stimulus the way I want it to. I can’t push the amount of watts I need to do well at the Tour de France," Wellens said.
"I don’t yet know what’s the reason behind this. Something isn’t right and needs to be solved. I am travelling to Belgium now to undergo additional examinations. Together with the team, I decided not to take any risks for the rest of the season. To start at the Tour could jeopardize a lot."
The team confirmed that Wellens was not suffering with COVID-19 and had returned a negative test but his absence from the Tour de France certainly leaves a hole in the team.
"It is a wise decision not to start. At the Tour, there is no time to wait and see. Besides, the season is not over yet for Tim. Just look at what he achieved at the Vuelta last year. The most important thing for us is that Tim gets back to his old self," said Lotto-Soudal’s general manager John Lelangue.
Wellens has not set a comeback date at this point but, with the UCI Road World Championships taking place in Belgium later this year, the four-time Grand Tour stage winner will be hoping to prove his fitness and claim a spot in the Belgian national team for the elite men’s road race.
"Now, I am going to have a good period of rest so I can find the good feeling again," said Wellens.
"Of course I am disappointed not to be at the start of the most important race of the year, but there are indeed still a lot of nice races to come after the Tour. And that is where my focus will be. I sincerely wish my teammates all the best. I will be cheering for Lotto Soudal, from home in Monaco."
Lotto-Soudal are expected to announce their Tour de France team in the next few days.
Caleb Ewan will once again lead the line with the Australian sprinter hoping to add to his collection of five Tour stages. He is aiming to win stages in all three of cycling’s Grand Tours this year and has already won two stages in the Giro d'Italia in May.
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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