Fabian Cancellara, a seven-time stage winner, has quietly bowed out of his final Tour de France in order to prepare for the Rio Olympics. His Trek – Segafredo team announced the news after Wednesday’s stage.
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“This was not an easy decision to take, but I feel it is the right one,” Cancellara said in the release. “I don’t like withdrawing from a race, especially not when our GC leader [Bauke Mollema] is in second place at four days from Paris. With some really hard stages ahead of us my support would naturally be more limited so we took the decision together to withdraw. It was a hard Tour for me: a lot of stress and I feel tired. If I want to be good at the Olympics I need rest.”
Over the course of his 17-year career, Cancellara wore the race leader’s yellow jersey for 29 days, a record for a rider who has never won the overall. This Tour, however, has been forgettable for the 35-year-old. His best result was sixth in stage 16 to Berne, Switzerland, his hometown.
“We all know he is eyeing the time trial, and a rider like Fabian needs sufficient recovery,” said Trek team manager Luca Guercilena. “The heat of the last days has taken a toll on a ‘bigger’ guy like him, and his fatigue level is high. He will go home now and take it easy for a few days before starting some specific training for Rio.”