Roberto Heras pulled out of the Tour de France ahead of stage 17, the last of the race's mountain legs.
Heras had been expected to challenge
The Spaniard, who twice won the Tour of Spain, helped Lance Armstrong to Tour de France victory in 2001, 2002 and 2003, before joining Liberty Seguros.
Heras had been expected to threaten Armstrong this year, but was 57 minutes down on the American before retiring.
"We haven't been able to get him back to full fitness," said team chief Manolo Saiz before the stage start.
"We've had to take a decision that isn't to our liking, but we're professionals and life must go on."