LONDON - The 2010 Tour de France champion Andy Schleck pulled out of this year's race due to an injury he sustained during the Criterium du Dauphine earlier this month, the rider's parents said Wednesday.
Schleck's father told The Associated Press his son will not be able to ride for at least five weeks and is likely to miss the London Olympics as well.
"This is a very bad year, the Tour was his primary objective," said Johny Schleck, the cyclist's father, who is also a former professional rider. He said Andy Schleck will have to rest for three weeks and will have to stay away from a bike for at least two more weeks after that.
"If he can ride again after that, he won't have enough time to get ready for the Olympics," his father said in a phone interview.
The men's Olympic race will take place on July 28, less than a week after the Tour ends on the Champs Elysees.
Schleck's team, RadioShack-Nissan, called a news conference for later Wednesday in Luxembourg, where the rider is expected to officially announce he is pulling out from cycling's most prestigious race that starts on June 30 in Liege, Belgium.
Schleck's mother, Gaby, told the AP that her son has a spine fracture and it's "impossible that he will ride the Tour."
Schleck initially finished second in the 2010 Tour. He was awarded the title earlier this year after Alberto Contador was disqualified for doping.
Schleck is one of cycling's strongest climbers. He abandoned the Dauphine race during the sixth stage, following a crash. His team initially said he suffered bruises on his right side and had an extremely sore rib.
His father said test the rider underwent on Tuesday revealed that he had "two cracks at the base of his spine."
"His morale is zero at the moment," Johny Schleck said. "He wanted to win the Tour, although it would have been difficult this year."
Considered one of the main contenders for the yellow jersey at the start of the season, Schleck recently raised doubts about his ability to win the Tour due to injuries.
In March, he dropped out of Paris-Nice because of illness. He was treated for knee problems in May.
Schleck's withdrawal from the Tour, and Alberto Contador's absence through his doping suspension, now mean that the three-week race will be deprived of world's two best climbers.