World time trial champion Rohan Dennis’ decision to abandon the Tour de France with no explanation is “confusing” and “disappointing”, say Bahrain-Merida.
Dennis climbed off in a feed zone with 80km remaining on Thursday’s stage 12.
The Australian, 29, had been one of the favourites for victory in Friday’s 27.2km individual time trial in Pau.
“We are confused and I am disappointed with what happened because we expected a big effort from him on Friday,” said sporting director Gorazd Stangelj.
“It was his decision to stop – we tried to speak to him, we stopped the car and tried to find a solution to what is going on.
“He said, ‘I don’t want to talk,’ and abandoned the race.”
Dennis refused to speak to journalists at the Bahrain-Merida bus when asked why he had withdrawn.
Stangelj said Dennis’ withdrawal was “nothing to do with his physical condition” when asked if it was because of illness.
“His condition is not bad, it’s good enough to compete in the Tour de France,” he added.
Stangelj was asked if there had been an argument between Dennis and the team and whether Dennis was unhappy with his time trial bike.
“There was no argument at the bus this morning,” he said.
“I didn’t ask him to bring the team water bottles because for the last two days I told him to save energy for the time trial.
“I’ve had no problem with him this season – he’s a special guy, all the champions are, he’s 100% when he wants something.
“He wants 100% and it’s not easy to have everything 100% in the race.”