Sport: Rohan Dennis withdraws from Tour de France mid-stage as mystery surrounds where he went - PressFrom - Australia

SportRohan Dennis withdraws from Tour de France mid-stage as mystery surrounds where he went

05:45  19 july  2019
05:45  19 july  2019 Source:

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Thankfully, Rohan Dennis was confirmed to still be on Earth, when he was seen leaving the bus later in the stage , clearly looking angry. Meantime we continue to support our riders who are mid -race. Dennis quitting the Tour de France could have a domino effect on the field. Friday’s time trial stage

Obviously, the Tour de France visited the Belgian capital more often. It will be the eleventh inclusion of Brussels. The first time was in 1947 (René Vietto victory) and the last time in 2010 (Alessandro Petacchi show). Tour de France 2019 Favourites stage 13: Rohan Dennis versus Wout Van Aert.

Rohan Dennis withdraws from Tour de France mid-stage as mystery surrounds where he went© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Bahrain Merida's sports director has expressed his disappointment with Rohan Dennis's withdrawal. (Bahrain Merida)

Australian cyclist Rohan Dennis's departure from the Tour de France is surrounded in mystery.

In the middle of Le Tour's first Pyrenean, with about 80 kilometres left before the two big climbs, Dennis was seen leaving the race, escorted by his personal manager, Andrew McQuaid.

Exactly where they went and why the time trial world champion quit his fourth Tour de France remains unknown.

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Nancy hosted thirteen Tour de France finishes since 1947. Time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds are awarded The 4th stage of the 2019 Tour de France starts at 12.25 and the race is expected to finish around 17.25 Tour de France 2019 Favourites stage 13: Rohan Dennis versus Wout Van Aert.

Rohan Dennis abandoned the Tour de France in bizarre circumstances as his Bahrain Merida team “launched an investigation” into his whereabouts, only for the rider to turn up at his team bus minutes later. Time-trial world champion Dennis , one of the favourites for Friday’s individual effort against the

The kerfuffle has left many involved in the Tour confused, but there are suggestions that there was some dissatisfaction with equipment — his time trial bike and his skin-suit.

Another theory is that it may relate to an issue regarding his status on the Bahrain-Merida team, and the management's insistence that Dennis should race in the service of 2014 Tour champion, Vincenzo Nibali.

"Let's say that I am disappointed about what happened with Rohan today because, actually, we expected a big effort from him tomorrow," Bahrain-Merida sports director Gorazd Stangelj told an enormous press scrum in Bagneres-de-Bigorre.

"It was his decision today to stop in the feed zone.

"We tried to speak with him … and tried to find a solution about what's going on."

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Dennis found after mysteriously abandoning Tour de France . Time trial world champion Rohan Dennis has been located after mysteriously abandoning the Tour de France during Stage 12 from His Bahrain Merida team were unable to locate him for over an hour, before he was spotted with his

Tour de France (born 1990-05-28) is a professional road racing cyclist from Australia, currently riding for Bahrain Merida. His best results are 1st place in stage World Championships - ITT, 1st place in GC Santos Tour Down Under and 1st place in GC USA Pro Challenge.

Like the media that was issuing the questions, Stangelj also wanted to understand the situation involving a rider with a rare talent. But he had no real answer.

"He said, 'I don't want to talk.' And just abandoned the race," Stangelj said.

At the start of stage 12 in Toulouse, on a day when the profile and predicament of the race suggested that Nibali should have been a favourite for the win, Stangelj explained that, despite early hopes that the Sicilian would go on the attack, it wasn't going to be possible.

"Unfortunately, there is one important detail — he woke up today with stomach problems so he will not go in the breakaway, for sure," Stangelj told the ABC.

In the morning, it seemed as though it was largely going to be business as usual for Dennis and his team.

While talking to Stangelj, the South Australian stepped onto the team bus and the Slovenian went on to explain that he had big expectations for Dennis in stage 13, the only individual time trial on this year's menu.

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The race leaves from Embrun, in the 2013 Tour de France host to a climbing time trial that was won by Chris Froome. Four years later, in 2017, a stage set off in the Hautes-Alpes village and went to Tour de France 2019 Favourites stage 13: Rohan Dennis versus Wout Van Aert.

Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) pulled out of the Tour de France in the middle of stage 12 without explanation, even to his own team. The reigning world time trial champion abandoned the race with approximately 80km remaining in Thursday’s stage , just a day ahead of the Tour ’s first individual time

"He's the world champion," Stangelj said.

"So, I think [we] expect from him to be up there and he will give 100 per cent."

Upon approaching Dennis and asking if he could spare a minute for a few questions, this reporter was served a vicious stare and a reply that's best left unpublished on this site.

Needless to say, it was typical of the moody rider who, only days earlier, was joking with me — as well as his team-mates — in a hotel we shared in Colmar after stage five.

When this reporter approached Dennis, he made it abundantly clear he wasn't interested in talking. Only days earlier, Dennis had been joking with teammates and reporters alike in a hotel shared in Colmar after stage five.

Dennis eventually did comment on his withdrawal, issuing a statement saying he was "very disappointed to leave the race at this point".

"Obviously the individual time trial tomorrow had been a big goal for me and the team, but given my current feeling it was the right decision to withdraw earlier today," he said.

"I wish my teammates the very best for the remainder of the race and would like to thank all the Tour de France fans who cheered for me, at home and on the roadside, since Brussels.

Australian rider Dennis located at Tour stage finish

Australian rider Dennis located at Tour stage finish Australian rider Dennis located at Tour stage finish

Australian Rohan Dennis abruptly abandoned the Tour de France midway through Thursday’s 12th stage from Toulouse to Bagneres- de -Bigorre. Dennis , the reigning world individual time trial champion, stepped off his bicycle with about 80 kilometers remaining in the mountainous stage .

The Tour de France comes home in its 3rd stage . Following two races in Belgium the stage is set to finish in Épernay. It’s been a while since La Grande Boucle last finished in the commercial centre in the Champagne region. Actually, the biggest cycling race in the world arrived only once in Épernay.

"I will hopefully be back competing in this great race again over the coming seasons."

'He's a special guy'

We'll never know how Dennis would have fared in tomorrow's time trial.

Instead of riding conservatively and saving energy for the TT, as he had been instructed to do by Stangelj, Dennis simply quit the race without explanation.

Numerous attempts were made to contact McQuaid to find out the reason for the retirement, but the manager did not return any calls.

There was a conference involving Dennis and McQuaid taking place near the Bahrain-Merida team bus around an hour before the start of stage 12.

This is common at the Tour — managers are often on site and in discussion with riders, particularly on the eve of an important rendezvous; and the time trial in Pau has been a stage Dennis has said he was targeting at this year's Tour.

That was when Dennis expressed to this reporter that he wasn't interested in talking.

At that point, it was clear that conflict was emerging between the rider and his team.

Instead of racing in his rainbow jersey, denoting his status as world champion, it's likely that Dennis will be watching from his home in nearby Andorra, with wife Melissa Dennis — a former world champion on the track — and young child.

Whether or not that is the case, no-one really knows. Alas, for Australian sports fans, he simply vanished without trace after being driven away from the Tour by McQuaid.

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In 2014, Dennis took a stage win en route to placing second overall in the Tour of California behind Bradley Wiggins, and a silver in the Commonwealth Australian Rohan Dennis withdraws from Tour de France on second rest day to get ready for the individual time trial at the Olympics Games in Rio.

At the Tour de France , Dennis had been racing to help his team leader Vincenzo Nibali in the overall classification, until the Italian’s overall hopes Dennis is currently midway through a four-year development project to become a grand tour contender. Switching focus to take on the hour record

Not even his team is certain what the situation is.

"He's a special guy," said Stangelj, when asked if there had been any issues between the team and Dennis.

"Let's say all the champions are. He's, let's say, really 100 per cent when he wants something and it's not difficult to make everybody happy in every single moment."

What made the retirement such a focus in Bagneres-de-Bigorre is the reality of the Tour's colourful history. In a quest to nullify any insinuation that there was anything more sinister at play, Stangelj was asked what many others would have been wondering.

Reporter: At the Tour de France, when there's something like this, the natural assumption is to jump to the worst conclusion. Can you confirm that there's not issue with doping?

Stangelj: What is the worst conclusion?

Reporter: That there may be a doping concern, or something like that.

This elicited an angry response from Stangelj: "Don't put the words in my mouth!"

And with that, we can assume that doping is not the issue. Rather, it seems, that Dennis's unexplained retirement was more to do with other, far more innocent matters. Nonetheless, it is as close to a scandal that we've seen at the Tour in 2019.

The race continues tonight but without Dennis and his rainbow jersey. Adding weight to the bizarre abandon are responses from the rider before the Tour when he was asked about the work being done by Bahrain-Merida and its new partner McLaren.

"We've done a lot of testing on helmets, skinsuits, shoe covers … a bit of position stuff, but that was more about trying to replicate what I've had in previous years," Dennis said on the eve of the Tour.

"At the moment, nothing has moved forward yet but there are plenty of plans in place for the rest of the season."

'You better f***ing do it!'

Following up on this commentary, I spoke with the team mechanic on 7 July, the day of the team time trial in Brussels.

"We had custom handlebars made for Vincenzo and Rohan," said mechanic Filip Tisma in an overview of the work done with McLaren.

They also changed tyres and made a few amendments to equipment, based on Dennis's urging for the best possible equipment.

"He's very equipment conscious," Tisma said at the start of the Tour, "so he would push me and the rest of the team quite hard to get things exactly how he wants them, which is a good thing for the team.

"He drives everything faster than how things usually happen in this kind of development."

It's an approach the mechanic appreciates, even if Dennis's upfront manner can be off-putting for others.

"It pushes everybody to do their best," Tisma said.

"He is one of those guys who would insist on getting things exactly the way he wants it.

"Once you tell him something is doable, he's adamant: 'You better f***ing do it!'"

Eleven days later, it's doubtful that the mood in the Bahrain-Merida team is as light-hearted.

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