Rohan Dennis, an accomplished Australian Olympic silver medalist and world champion time trial rider, abruptly abandoned the Tour de France on Thursday without telling his team he had left the race. It resulted in a short time during which no one knew where he was and his Bahrain-Merida team sent out messages concerned about his welfare.
No one yet knows why he walked off the course the day before a short time trial he was the favorite to win, but they did find him at the finish line at the end of the race.
Rider vanishes from stage 12 of Tour
Dennis disappeared during the stage from Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre and for a short while he was treated as a missing individual. The team released the following tweet during the race.
Our priority is the welfare of all our riders so will launch an immediate investigation but will not be commenting further until we have established what has happened to @RohanDennis.
Meantime we continue to support our riders who are mid-race.
— Team Bahrain Merida (@Bahrain_Merida) July 18, 2019
Dennis, 29, was seen at the finish line when racers crossed and his bike was up against the team car when his team drove by the feed zone. He was an individual stage winner in 2015 and quit the current race with approximately 80 kilometers until the two big climbs of the day, per the AP.
Why did Dennis quit the Tour de France?
No one knows why the racer left at this point. Team director Gorazd Stangelj released a statement saying they were also befuddled about the events of the day and were disappointed.
“We are also confused. It was his decision today to stop [the race] at the feed zone. We tried to speak with him, he said ‘I just don’t want to talk,’ and abandoned the race.”
A French TV station broadcasting the race said Dennis had an argument with team officials in the team car, per an earlier AP report.
When asked if Dennis had been difficult to work with before, Stangelj said “it’s difficult to answer this question.”
“But I never have hard discussions with him,” he insisted. “We always found a solution when it was needed.”
Stangelj told Velo News Magazine that the team management and Dennis had gotten along fine this season. It’s the rider’s first year with the team after four with BMC Racing Team.
Dennis drops out before best chance
Dennis is the reigning world time trial champion and won the national Time Trial Championships from 2016-18. He at one point held the world hour record at 52.491 km set Feb. 8, 2015. He’s now fourth.
Australian Rohan Dennis has abandoned the #tdf19, race organiser confirms. Cause currently unknown. Spoke to him this morning and he said Vincenzo Nibali wasn’t 100 per cent but talked about his own ITT chances tomorrow as if he’d be there. #sbstdf
— Sophie Smith (@SophieSmith86) July 18, 2019
Stage 13 is a short time trial in Peru and his team was expecting him to finish toward the top. He was a favorite in the race and now it’s more wide-open for other racers, including American Chad Haga.
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