Stijn Devolder leaves Tour de France

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The Belgian Quick-Step cyclist abandoned the race in the 15th stage after dreams of excelling were shattered.

21 July 2008

BELGIUM - West-Fleming Stijn Devolder has left the Tour de France.
The cyclist abandoned the race in the 15th stage, a mountain stage including the gruelling Col Agnel in the Alps.

Devolder had started the Tour de France with high expectations, but his dream of doing well in the general classification was shattered in the Pyrenees.

Earlier this season, Stijn Devolder won the classic race Tour of Flanders and the Tour of Belgium, a stage race. After wearing the leader's jersey in 2007's Tour of Spain, many believed he had a good chance of doing well in the Tour de France as well.

Devolder was in the top 10 after the Massif Central, but things went wrong in the first real mountain stage in the Pyrenees. On the famous Tourmalet mountain pass, he had to let the other top riders go, eventually losing several minutes.

Devolder was extremely disappointed and shifted his ambitions to winning a stage, but apparently he was not in top form.

The West-Fleming is part of the Belgian Quick-Step team, where he took over the leading role from Tom Boonen who was barred from this Tour de France after testing positive on cocaine.

Earlier, Devolder said he would not compete in the Olympic race in China, despite earlier engagements. He wants to focus on the World Championships in Varese on 28 September.

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