After careful deliberation between Cancellara and the Trek-Segafredo team management, a decision was made to allow the Swiss rider to rest and recover in preparation for the Olympic Games.
“This was not an easy decision to take, but I feel it is the right one,” said Cancellara.
“I don’t like withdrawing from a race, especially not when our GC leader 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.”
His final Tour de France hasn’t gone as well as the four-time world time trial champion had hoped. His best result has been a sixth place finish on Stage 16.
“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.”
Cancellara finished 23rd in the Stage 13 time trial, three minutes and 15 seconds behind stage winner Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).
“The Tour has given me a lot in the last twelve years and I don’t say this lightly. I gave a lot of thought to this decision to withdraw from the race,” said Cancellara, who will retire from professional cycling sometime after the Olympics.
“Today was very emotional for me, more than I expected it to be, and more than when I finished the Classics in the Roubaix velodrome: the stage to Bern, the start there this morning and the gift they presented me; everything.
“Right now knowing that these were my last kilometres in the Tour de France is hard. I want to thank the organizers for all those years, and for the trophy of my final Tour stage. I will treasure that forever. I’m drawing a line under a big story of my life.
"I wish the team, and Bauke in particular, a fantastic last four stages. I will be following the action from home.”
Trek-Segafredo general magager Luca Guercilena was full of praise for Cancellara’s efforts during the Tour so far.
“Fabian has ridden a tremendous Tour de France. He was our designated road captain and in this capacity led the team through 17 stages in a very composed way. Bauke Mollema is currently in second place overall, in part through strong teamwork by the whole team,” said Guercilena.
“This is why we decided to allow him to rest up and prepare for the Olympic Games. We all know he is eyeing the time trial and a rider like Fabian needs sufficient recovery.
“The heat of the last days has taken a toll on a 'bigger' guy like him, and his fatigue level is high. He will go home now and take it easy for a few days before starting some specific training for Rio."