Cavendish left the Tour de France on the second rest day 'with great sadness'.
"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," said Cavendish. "
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."
Cavendish's departure from the Tour de France has been speculated about since early in the race, given that the omnium event in the Olympics is his major goal for the year. He has experienced a return to form in this edition of the Tour, netting four stages as well as stints in both yellow and green jerseys.
Dennis calls time on Tour
Australian national time trial champion Rohan Dennis also abandoned the Tour on the second rest day in lieu of his medal aims at the forthcoming Rio Olympic Games.
The 26-year-old has aided BMC Racing trade teammates Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen in their dual yellow jersey approach throughout the 103rd edition, which he called time on during Tuesday’s second rest day.
The team said the remaining stages, including an Alpine time trial, were not conducive to Dennis’s Olympic ambitions next month.
"The performance and management team agree that it is not in his best interest to continue racing beyond stage 16. The next two weeks are crucial for him as he prepares for the Rio Olympics and given the final time trial here at the Tour de France isn't suited to him, his preparation is best done at home in order to avoid further fatigue,” sports director Yvon Ledanois said.
"It has been an incredibly tough two weeks of racing at the Tour de France and Rohan has been an asset to the team both with his fifth place in the first time trial and working in support of our leaders throughout the race.”
Dennis and Porte are set to again team up in Rio in the Australian national team in the elite men’s time trial and road race, respectively.