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.
MORE: Chris Froome runs up Mont Ventoux after Tour de France crash (video)
Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.
Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.
Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.
She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.
Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.
Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.
Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.
The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.
Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.
Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.
The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.
In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.
Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.
“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”