Three-time world champion Oscar Freire has bowed out of the Tour de France due to an ongoing cyst problem on his backside.
Rabobank sprinter Freire finished second on Friday's sixth stage behind Belgian Tom Boonen, claiming his second runner-up place on this year's race. But the Spaniard, who is hoping to win a record fourth world title in Stuttgart, Germany in September, decided not to start the seventh stage, the first of two consecutive days in the Alps.
Freire had a fantastic Tour campaign last year, winning two stages and placing in the top ten on a number of occasions. But with three days in the mountains beginning Saturday, and relatively few chances for stage victories afterwards, the 29-year-old decided to quit.
"I've had the problem treated before in the hospital, but maybe this time I'll change tack and just go home and rest," said Freire, who began the Tour de France despite being aware of a recurrence of the problem.
Monday is the Tour's first rest day.
© AFP 2007