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Cancellara pulls out of Tour de France

The Trek Factory Racing team announced that Fabian Cancellara will not start on stage 11 of the Tour de France tomorrow.

The Swiss rider will leave to prepare for the World Championships in Ponferrada in September.

“I will travel home now and take a little break. The season has been long for me, starting back in Dubai," Cancellara said in the team press release. "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 widely tipped to win stage 5 of the Tour de France, which traversed some of the Paris-Roubaix pavé sectors. He could only manage fifth on the day behind winner Lars Boom (Belkin).

He then made the breakaway on stage 9 to Mulouse, but his time trial rival Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) had long before flown the coop to win the stage solo, leaving Cancellara to sprint for second place.

“It was not only about the cobblestones stage for me. The course for this year’s Tour is very attractive for a rider of my profile, I liked it. There were many opportunities and with a little more luck, I could have gone home with a result in the pocket," he said.

The team will be down to just six riders, after losing Andy Schleck and Danny van Poppel. Haimar Zubeldia is the team's highest placed rider on GC, at 20th place, 8:01 behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

Team manager Luca Guercilena supported the exit of Cancellara. “We brought Fabian to the Tour to be a factor where his skills allowed it and he didn’t disappoint," Guercilena said. "He’s a rider that always comes to a race to give everything - if you just look at how he was working for Fränk (Schleck) yesterday at 20 km from the finish in a mountain stage. Now he gets a short break and then we will build up his condition again to be at his best in Ponferrada."

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