Pau - Australian
Rohan Dennis said his abrupt withdrawal from the Tour de France was the
'right decision' ahead of Friday's time-trial, the discipline at which
he is world champion.
Dennis won the 2018 world time trial road race at Innsbruck in
November, beating Dutch ace Tom Dumoulin and world one-hour track record
holder Belgian Victor Campenaerts in third.
The 29-year-old from Adelaide also won the time-trial in June's Tour
de Suisse, finishing the race second overall behind Colombia's Egan
The Bahrain Merida rider threw in the towel at the start of the
Peyresourde, the first of two climbs on Thursday's 12th stage, after he
had been busy trying to make the early breakaway.
Dennis released a statement overnight Thursday in which he did not
address the reasons for his withdrawal during the 12th stage on Thursday
but suggested they were not physical.
"I am very disappointed to leave the race at this point," said Dennis, who has won stages on all three Grand Tours.
"The individual time-trial tomorrow (Friday) had been a big goal for
me and the team, but given my current feeling it was the right decision
to withdraw earlier today.
"I wish my team-mates 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."
"I will hopefully be back competing in this great race again over the coming seasons."
Gorazd Stangelj, the Bahrain Merida team's sports director, made an
effort to persuade Dennis to continue the race but to no avail.
The team later released a statement saying "the welfare of all our riders is our key concern."
"He's the kind of guy who wants to have everything 100 percent and
it's not easy to have everything 100 percent all the time," Stranjelj
"He's a special guy, let's say, all champions are."