- Hartley’s Dusi buildup gathers pace
- World’s top teams head for SA
- Sunshine Ladies Tour starts fourth season in January
- Weber wins SA’s final gold medal of African Champs
- Tough going in Tongyeong for SA’s Radford
- Double gold for Venter as SA medal count reaches 59
- Winning start for Ellis as Banyana beat Egypt
- Skhosana’s promise to take SA even further forward
- It’s 50 medals for SA at African Championships
- Top-ranked Williams does the double
Africa’s Tour team loses Cavendish as sprint ace focuses on Rio
- Updated: July 20, 2016
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka lost one of their main weapons at the Tour de France on Tuesday when four-stage winner Mark Cavendish withdrew in order to concentrate on the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The African outfit has enjoyed extraordinary success in the 2016 Tour de France. Among the many highlights so far for the Team, the stand-out wins on Stage One, Three, Six and 14 by Cavendish and the Stage Seven win by Steve Cummings were exceptional.
The African team was also proud to enjoy time in both the Yellow and Green Jerseys, worn by Cavendish, who extended his Tour de France stage win record to 30 wins taking him to second on the all-time Tour Stage Wins record.
After analysing his workload from the previous stages and his current levels of fatigue, the team have supported Cavendish leaving the Tour to give him the best opportunity to recover and prepare for the Olympic Games in Rio.
Explaining his withdrawal, Cavendish said: ‘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. After the heat and intensity of the previous stages, we analysed 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.
‘To leave a race and organisation that I hold so much respect for and a team that I have such a special bond with, has not been an easy decision at all. I want to say thank you to them, along with all the fans for their support and encouragement, today and over the past 16 stages. I wish Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and all the other competitors luck in the final few days into Paris, a special place that I will definitely miss the emotions of this year.’
Adding his input, Team Principle Douglas Ryder who will be part of Team South Africa at the Rio Olympics in a managerial/coaching capacity, said: ‘Mark raced an incredible Tour de France, winning four stages and extending his palmarès to 30 stage wins at the Grand Boucle. He managed to put on his first ever Yellow jersey and to carry the Green jersey into the first rest day in Andorra was just exceptional.
‘He has been a great team leader over the past two weeks and a great ambassador for everyone involved in this team and for the greater cause we ride for. Mark is really sad to leave the tour, we are committed to support him in his dream goal of receiving a medal for Britain at the Rio Olympics.’