Despite winning four stages of the Tour de France, British cyclist Mark Cavendish has pulled out of the race so he can rest and prepare for the Rio Olympics.
He was named to Great Britain’s Olympic cycling team to compete in the omnium, a two-day track cycling event consisting of six races. That takes place Aug. 14-15, giving Cavendish less than four weeks to prepare.
“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,” he said in a statement. “After the heat and intensity of the previous stages, we analyzed 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.”
Cavendish excels more as a sprinter in cycling, which helps him win individual stages of road races. He won stages one, three, six and 14 of this year’s Tour de France, and actually wore the leader’s yellow jersey for a while. But he struggled in the mountain stages.
The Tour ends Sunday with the sport’s most famous sprint on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, but Cavendish will be long gone by then.
He’s aiming for his first Olympic medal. Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins finished ninth in the men’s Madison event at the 2008 Beijing Games (a team event no longer contested in the Olympics), and Cavendish placed 29th in the men’s road race four years ago in London.