Mark Cavendish abandons Tour de France to focus on Rio 2016 Olympics

Manxman quits race on second rest day 'with great sadness'

Britain’s Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) has abandoned the 2016 Tour de France on the second rest day in Bern in order to focus on his preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Manxman Cavendish is set to ride the omnium on the track in Rio and had always been expected to leave the Tour de France early.

However, after four stage wins in the opening two weeks – which takes his career tally to 30 at the Tour, and puts him clear in second place on the all-time list behind Eddy Merckx – there was a suggestion he may continue until Paris.

But with ‘great sadness’ and after analysing his physical condition, Cavendish has decided riding on in the Alps would be detrimental to his ambition of adding an Olympic medal to his palmares for the first time.

Mark Cavendish has abandoned the 2016 Tour de France to focus on his preparation for the Olympic Games (pic: Sirotti)

“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,” a statement on the team’s website read.

“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.”

Cavendish outlined three major targets at the start of the year, the first of which he ticked off at the Tour de France by pulling on the yellow jersey for the first time in his career after stage one.

He will now look to add one of the few missing pieces to his illustrious CV at the Olympic Games, having been selected in Great Britain’s five-man track endurance squad.

Cavendish’s withdrawal makes him just the 16th rider to leave this year’s race, and the second from Dimension Data after Mark Renshaw abandoned in Andorra.

Cavendish will ride the omnium at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (pic: Simon Wilkinson/

Team principal Douglas Ryder paid tribute to the Manxman’s performances at the Tour, concluding: “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 [but] we are committed to support him in his goal of receiving a medal for Britain at the Rio Olympic Games.”

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