Spanish cyclist Joseba Beloki will miss this year's Tour de France after leaving his French team.
Beloki suffered a horrific crash midway through last year's Tour de France
Beloki and the Brioches La Boulangere team came to a mutual agreement, according to the squad's sporting director Thierry Bricaud.
He also said the 30-year-old was not in peak race condition for cycling's premier event which starts 3 July.
"He's not ready and his contract does not allow him to sign up with another team straight away," said Bricaud.
Beloki is the second major rival to five-time champion Lance Armstrong to pull out in the last three days, following Alexandre Vinokourov's similar decision on Monday.
Armstrong is going for an all-time record sixth consecutive victory this year.
Beloki finished the Tour third in 2000 and 2001 and was runner-up to Armstrong in 2002.
But his race last year ended with a horrific crash on the ninth stage suffering from multiple fractures.
Beloki had been in second place overall, trailing Armstrong by just 40 seconds, at the start of the
184.5-km (114.4-mile) stage from Bourg d'Oisans to Gap nearly midway through the three-week race.
The Texan went on to win the Tour for a record-tying fifth straight time.