Cavendish leaves Tour de France on second rest day to prepare for Olympics

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After four stage wins in 16 stages, British ride Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) is leaving the 2016 Tour de France to prepare for the Olympic Games, his team announced Tuesday. He will not take to the start of stage 17.

Cavendish won four stages — Stages 1, 3, 6 and 14 — and spent time in both the yellow jersey of race leader, and the green jersey of points leader. He leaves the race ranked second in the green jersey competition, 114 points behind Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), as the Tour enters four hard days in the Alps.

Cavendish will ride the omnium at this year’s Olympic Games after gaining selection to the Great Britain team.

The 2016 Tour was Cav’s best since 2011, when he won five stages and the green jersey.

Cav’s four wins at this year’s race extended his Tour de France stage win record to 30, taking him to second on the all-time Tour Stage Wins record.

“After an extremely enjoyable and successful couple of weeks at The Tour de France with Team Dimension Data, it is with great sadness that I took the decision today to leave the race,” Cavendish said in a team statement. “After the heat and intensity of the previous stages, we analysed my fatigue levels and decided I’m at a point that would have a detrimental effect on my other big goal for the year, the Olympic Games.

“To leave a race and organisation that I hold so much respect for, and a team that I have such a special bond with, has not been an easy decision at all. I want to say thank you to them, along with all the fans for their support and encouragement, today and over the past 16 stages. I wish Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and all the other competitors luck in the final few days into Paris, a special place that I will definitely miss the emotions of this year.

Dimension Data team manager Douglas Ryder said he understood and accepted the decision.

“Mark raced an incredible Tour de France, winning four stages and extending his palmarès to 30 stage wins at the Grand Boucle,” Ryder said. “He managed to put on his first ever Yellow jersey and to carry the Green jersey into the first rest day in Andorra was just exceptional. He has been a great team leader over the past two weeks and a great ambassador for everyone involved in this team and for the greater cause we ride for. Mark is really sad to leave the Tour. We are committed to support him in his dream goal of receiving a medal for Britain at the Rio Olympic Games.”

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