World time-trial champion Tony Martin has withdrawn from the remainder of the Tour de France, his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team have announced.
The German has been riding with a cast protecting a fractured wrist sustained early in the Tour, but will not start tomorrow's 10th stage and is now set to return home to recover ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Martin said: "It's difficult for me to step out of the Tour and leave my team-mates here to keep on fighting.
"But it's the right thing to do now, and I know that even the guys will understand. I don't want things to get even worse going into the mountains.
"I cannot imagine sitting in the back of the peloton suffering every day a little bit more as I did during this week.
"I really tried, I put a lot of energy together with the team to arrive until today, but now it's time to think about my complete recovery.
"I have still three weeks before the Olympics. I know that it won't be easy, but I will do all my best to be in good shape for the Olympics."
Martin became time-trial world champion in Copenhagen last September, beating Bradley Wiggins into silver, and is hoping to add Olympic gold at Hampton Court on August 1.
Despite his injury and a puncture, he finished 12th in stage nine's 41.5-kilometre time-trial, won by Wiggins, and abandons the Tour while almost 40 minutes behind the Briton in the overall standings.
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