British sprint specialist Mark Cavendish on Sunday pulled out of the Tour de France during the 165km eighth stage between Le Grand-Bornand and Tignes.
T-Mobile took the race lead Saturday after the seventh stage victory of race debutant Linus Gerdemann of Germany, who began the eighth stage in the yellow jersey. Team manager Rolf Aldag said a few days ago that Cavendish, from the Isle of Man, who suffered numerous crashes inside the first week of racing, would not be allowed to start the ninth stage even if he wanted to.
"We wanted to give Mark a first view of racing in the high mountains, but he was always going to be pulled out by now," said Aldag. "If he'd tried to start the ninth stage, we would have cut his bike into pieces."
Sunday's eighth stage is the second consecutive day of racing in the Alps, and includes six climbs in total - three of which are graded category one - and the race's first summit finish.
Monday is the first of two rest days on the Tour, while Tuesday's ninth stage features the first unclassified climbs - the Col d'Iseran and the Col du Galibier.