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Swiss rider quits Tour to focus on Olympics

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Swiss rider quits Tour to focus on Olympics
Fabian Cancellara wants to focus on the Olympics. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP
08:22 CEST+02:00
Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara quit the Tour de France on Wednesday at the end of the 17th stage to concentrate on his bid for an Olympic Games gold medal.

The 35-year-old, nicknamed 'Spartacus', is the second high-profile rider to pull out of the Tour in two days after British sprinter Mark Cavendish withdrew on Tuesday to focus on his bid for a first Olympic medal.
   
"This was not an easy decision to take, but I feel it is the right one," said Cancellara in a statement released by his Trek team.
   
"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."
   
It was a sad end for Cancellara who was riding in his last Tour de France, especially since it visited his homeland this year, with stage 16 on Monday finishing just a few miles from his home.
   
"The Tour has given me a lot in the last 12 years and I don't say this lightly," he added.
   
"I gave a lot of thought to this decision to withdraw from the race. Today was very emotional for me - more than I expected it to be.
   
"Right now knowing that these were my last kilometers in the Tour de France is hard."

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