The Manx Missile won four total stages but chases Tinkoff's Peter Sagan by a huge margin in the points classification, making it almost impossible for him to win the green jersey. Per BBC Sport, he said he made the decision "with great sadness."
He confirmed the decision on Tuesday via Twitter:
The 31-year-old turned back the clock in 2016, dominating several bunch sprints to put himself in a position to compete for the green jersey, but Sagan's win in Berne during the final stage before the rest day Tuesday pushed his lead to 114 points, per the Tour's official website. Four of the five stages remaining are in the Alps, where the sprinters won't have the chance to add to their tallies.
Per BBC Sport, Cavendish is expected to compete in the omnium in Rio, his third Olympic Games. He failed to medal during his last two attempts, and at the age of 31, this year's Games will likely give him his final chance at Olympic gold.
Per Cycling Weekly's Gregor Brown, Cavendish previously denied there were plans for him to leave the Tour during the final rest day.