Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) has abandoned the Tour de France ahead of stage 9 to Bagnères-de-Bigorre. The 23-year-old Australian was making his Tour debut with the stated goal of gaining experience and his team took the decision to withdraw him from the race following the opening stage in the Pyrenees.
Dennis was the last rider to cross the line at the summit of Ax 3 Domaines on Saturday, 38 minutes down on winner Chris Froome (Sky) and seven minutes behind the gruppetto, after paying for his efforts in the opening week. The young talent had forced his way into the Tour team with a strong showing at June’s Critérium du Dauphiné.
“Having the opportunity to ride my first Tour at my age was incredible and a huge honour,” Dennis said. “I would have liked to make it a little longer in the race but now it’s time to go home and rest and recover. I'm very thankful for the support of my team and I know the guys will continue to do a great race.”
In a statement released on Sunday morning, Garmin-Sharp paid tribute to the neo-professional Dennis’ efforts in the opening week and said that his participation in the race would have been reviewed on the Tour’s first rest day on Monday in any case.
“We wanted to get him through the first rest day and we're only a day short of that. He did a fantastic job here and we're proud of how he rode for the team,” the Garmin-Sharp statement said. “Now he'll go home, rest, recover, and focus on the rest of his season with the benefit of having ridden his first Tour de France.”