Cycling fans in west Essex and East London are now set to see just three British riders competing in the Tour de France after David Millar was surprisingly withdrawn by his Garmin-Sharp team.

The 37-year-old Scot was set to compete in his 13th and final Tour before retiring at the end of the season and announced his selection on Twitter last week. However, Millar returned to the social media site today to reveal this was no longer the case.

He said: “I was selected for TdF last week, then they [Garmin] pulled me last night.”

The omission of Millar comes after the rider, who has been suffering with a cough, abandoned yesterday’s men’s national road race championship.

"Had David Millar been healthy, he would have been a phenomenal team member,” Garmin’s sports director Charly Wegelius said in a statement. “We would have loved to have him. Unfortunately, as seen over the weekend, David is sick, so we were forced to make a difficult and sad decision.

"We are very sorry to leave David Millar home due to illness. His experience is unparallelled and his contributions to the sport and our team are undeniable. We wish things were different for David, but as we look ahead to the Tour, we believe we have selected a strong team and we are committed to helping [leader] Andrew Talansky build on last year's success."

The Scot becomes the second British rider to be ruled out of the Tour today due to health issues after Alex Dowsett was omitted by his Spanish Movistar team.

This leaves defending champion Chris Froome, his sky teammate Geraint Thomas and Ongar’s Mark Cavendish as the only British riders in the race which starts in Leeds on Saturday, half the number who competed in 2012.