Cyclist Rohan Dennis mysteriously abandons Tour de France in middle of race with no explanation

USATSI

Australian cyclist Rohan Dennis is the reining world time trial champion and was heading through Stage 12 of the Tour de France from Toulouse when he went missing from the pack. 

An official later confirmed that he abandoned the race, and his bike was found against his team bus near the finish line. 

The cyclist left the race with about 80 kilometers to go and was a favorite to win Friday's individual time trial. 

For a while, no one knew where the biker went. His team sent out a tweet that left people with more questions than answers. It was later confirmed that Dennis was spotted near the finish line and then seen leaving the team bus.

But the question on everyone's mind is still: "Why did he quit?"

Dennis was only 5 minutes and 41 seconds behind the leader on the general classification entering Stage 12. So odds are he did not abandon the race due to the his spot in the standings.

Illness might be a possible answer. But there were no signs the cyclist would quit during his interview with Eurosport's Sophie Smith, who spoke to Dennis before the stage. He noted in the interview one of his teammates had started to feel sick but did not allude at all to his health or that he would be quitting mid race. 

The director of Bahrain-Merida, Gorazd Stangelj, told reporters that the team was 'confused' about Dennis's decision to quit.

"We are also confused... Let's say I am disappointed with what happened with Rohan today because we expected a big effort from him tomorrow," Stangelj said. "It was his decision to stop at the feed zone. We try to speak with him. We stop with the car and try to find a solution—what is going on—he said I don't want to talk and he abandon the race."

Stangeli did rule out any kind of injury to Dennis, saying this all "has nothing to do with his physical condition."

There is also the chance that he was fighting with his team. A French TV station reported on Thursday that Dennis had a shouting match with a Team Bahrain-Merida official after Stage 12 when he withdrew from the race.

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