Multiple stage winner Cavendish leaves Tour to focus on Olympics

EMBRUN, France -- British sprinter Mark Cavendish pulled out of the Tour de France before Sunday's 15th stage, featuring major climbs in the Alps.

Cavendish won four stages at this year's race with sprint finishes. Team Columbia manager Bob Stapleton said he and Cavendish had reached a mutual decision after the 23-year-old cyclist complained of tiredness recently.

"We spoke to him last night to see how he felt," Stapleton said. "Even halfway during that he was very fatigued. It was very difficult for him to get over the Alps. Why take any physical risks and put a workload on his body?"

Cavendish now will focus on next month's Beijing Olympics.