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Dennis pulls out of Tour de France in unclear circumstances

July 18, 2019
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The pack rides during the twelfth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 209,5 kilometers (130 miles) with start in Toulouse and finish in Bagneres-de-Bigorre, France, Thursday, July 18, 2019. (AP Photo/ Christophe Ena)
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The pack rides during the twelfth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 209,5 kilometers (130 miles) with start in Toulouse and finish in Bagneres-de-Bigorre, France, Thursday, July 18, 2019. (AP Photo/ Christophe Ena)

BAGNERES-DE-BIGORRE, France (AP) — Time trial world champion Rohan Dennis has abandoned the Tour de France during the first Pyrenean stage amid reports he clashed with his team’s officials.

The Australian rider pulled out of the race with about 80 kilometers left on Thursday before the two big climbs in Stage 12.

Dennis’s Bahrain-Merida team said it has opened an investigation to shine a light on the reasons behind his withdrawal.

“We will not be commenting further until we have established what has happened to Rohann Dennis,” the team said on Twitter. “Our priority is the welfare of all our riders.”

According to the French TV station broadcasting the race, Dennis had an argument with Bahrain Merida’s officials in the team car.

Dennis was expected to challenge for a stage win during Friday’s individual time trial in Pau.

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