MALDON cyclist Alex Dowsett will not be riding the Tour de France this year.

Dowsett, of Cock Clarks, had been expected to be named in Movistar's nine-man team for the three-week race but he has missed the final cut.

The third stage of the race will hit the streets of Essex next Monday, but Dowsett will not be amongst the riders.

Movistar released a statement after the announcement, citing respiratory problems as the reason for his absence, although Dowsett's form has been patchy in the run-up to the Tour. He came third in the national Road Race Championships last Thursday, having won the race the previous three years.

For the full story, see tomorrow's Echo and Gazette sports pages.