Fabian Cancellara announced his withdrawal from the Tour de France on the race’s first rest day yesterday, becoming the latest big name to exit — albeit the Swiss did so voluntarily.
Unlike previous winners Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck and 25-time stage winner Mark Cavendish — all of whom crashed out — Cancellara chose to abandon the race prior to the Alps and Pyrenees in order to prepare for September’s Road World Championships in Spain.
Cancellara said in a statement released by his Trek Factory Racing team: “I will travel home now and take a little break. The season has been long for me, starting back in Dubai (in February).
“I have done 59 days of competition this season so far and I have another big goal at the end of this season: the World Championships.
“It’s not a secret that I’d like to be in my best shape there, so it’s important that I take some rest.”
Cancellara was fifth over the stage five cobbles, a day which he began as one of the favourites for stage victory.
His departure, coupled with the exits of Schleck and Danny van Poppel, leaves Trek with six remaining riders.
The Tour continues with today’s 11th stage, the 187.5-kilometre route from Besancon to Oyonnax.
Ireland’s Nicolas Roche likes in 51st place on general classificication.
Meanwhile, Chris Froome is sending Richie Porte tactical titbits as the 2013 champion bids to help his Team Sky colleague and close friend succeed him in the yellow jersey in Paris.
Froome crashed out of the Tour last week with a fractured left wrist and right hand, with Australian Porte assuming the leadership of Team Sky.
Porte, the 2013 Paris-Nice champion, sits second, two minutes 23 seconds behind leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).
“I got a message from him (Froome) yesterday, just telling me about tactics and the guys sitting on my wheel,” Porte said.
“It’s nice to have support from guys like him. ”
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