Cavendish drops out of Tour to prep for Games

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

‘Af­ter the heat and in­ten­sity ... I’m at a point that would have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on my other big goal ... the Games.’

Mark Cavendish

Bri­tish cy­clist

BRI­TISH sprinter Mark Cavendish with­drew from the Tour de France on July 19 to fo­cus on his bid for a first Olympic medal at the Rio Games in just over two weeks.

The 31-year-old won four stages this year and now has 30 in the bag over­all, mean­ing the “Manx Mis­sile” is creep­ing up on Bel­gian le­gend Eddy Mer­ckx and the all-time record of 34 stage wins.

There are five stages left in the race this year, four of which are in the Alps, but Cavendish did not start yes­ter­day’s stage 17.

“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 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.”

Dou­glas Ry­der, the team prin­ci­pal, paid trib­ute to Cavendish and said he re­spected his de­ci­sion.

“He man­aged to put on his firstever yel­low jer­sey, and to carry the green jer­sey into the first rest day in An­dorra was just ex­cep­tional,” he said.

“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.”

Aus­tralian Ro­han Den­nis sim­i­larly quit the Tour on July 19, a rest day, to con­cen­trate on his Olympic prepa­ra­tions.

Den­nis, 26, who won the open­ing stage time trial at the Tour last year and wore the race leader’s yel­low jer­sey for a day, was sit­ting 126th over­all at more than two-and-a-half hours be­hind leader Chris Froome.

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