Simon Yates Wins Tour Stage as a Competitor Vanishes

BAGNÈRES-DE-BIGORRE, France — In 116 years of racing on the Tour de France, riders have executed all types of weird issues, such as leaping on trains or combating with followers at mountain stops.

Rarely have they only vanished in the course of a stage as Rohan Dennis did Thursday throughout the first Pyrenean stage.

For a couple of hours on an in any other case uneventful day within the mountains, no one was in a position to say the place Dennis, the time trial world champion, had gone. His Bahrain Merida group even despatched an alarming message out on social networks, saying all it cared about was Dennis’s welfare after Tour organizers introduced that he had pulled out of the race.

Dennis, an Australian, resurfaced on the end line in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, the place the British rider Simon Yates, the reigning Spanish Vuelta champion, posted his first stage win after a lengthy breakaway that didn’t shuffle the general standings.

Dennis was noticed close to the Bahrain Merida group bus after the stage however didn’t touch upon his choice to drag out.

“We are also confused,” Gorazd Stangelj, the Bahrain Merida group director, stated. “It was his decision today to stop at the feed zone. We tried to speak with him. He said, ‘I just don’t want to talk’ and abandoned the race.”

Dennis stop with about 50 miles left earlier than the 2 large climbs in Stage 12, prompting Bahrain Merida to open an investigation. According to the French TV station broadcasting the race, Dennis had an argument with officers within the group automotive.

Stangelj stated Dennis had been in adequate situation to carry out and stated that he was not conscious of any form of argument that would have introduced concerning the rider’s choice.

Dennis’s withdrawal was much more stunning as it got here a day earlier than Friday’s quick time trial in Pau, the place he would have been an apparent favourite, alongside the defending Tour champion Geraint Thomas, given his pedigree in races in opposition to the clock.

Stangelj stated he was not conscious of any grievance from Dennis concerning his time trial tools and dismissed suppositions that Dennis may need been pissed off along with his function within the group. Bahrain Merida’s important aim on the Tour this 12 months was to satisfy the previous Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali’s ambition to battle for a podium end.

When requested if Dennis had been tough to work with earlier than, Stangelj stated, “It’s difficult to answer this question.”

He added: “But I never have hard discussions with him. We always found a solution when it was needed.”

Stangelj stated that after Dennis had stopped on the feed zone, he had not been in a position to attain out to him immediately as a result of Stangelj had already pushed that time on the route and couldn’t flip again. He finally spoke to Dennis by cellphone after one other group automotive arrived subsequent to him.

Dennis’s extraordinary withdrawal was the speak of the day however didn’t eclipse Yates’s maiden win on the Tour.

Yates began a counterattack behind a group of fugitives in a technical downhill and was joined on the entrance by Gregor Mühlberger and Pello Bilbao. The trio labored properly collectively till the ultimate dash formed up 200 meters from the end line in Bagnères-de-Bigorre. Yates began the dash and was first into the final flip, and he held off Bilbao for the victory.

“I wasn’t very confident in beating them,” Yates stated. “I didn’t know how fast these two riders were, but my sport director told me to take the last corner in first position, and I’m glad it worked out well. To have a stage at all three Grand Tours makes me very proud.”

Yates is working in assist of his brother Adam on the three-week race and had stored a low profile till Thursday. He made his transfer within the Peyresourde downhill, reaching a most velocity of 58.6 miles per hour. He was as spectacular within the day’s remaining ascent, the Hourquette d’Ancizan, and was joined on the entrance by Mühlberger earlier than Bilbao jumped throughout to them on the descent to Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

“This was probably a unique opportunity for me,” Yates stated. “My main goal is to help Adam in the mountains, and we thought that wouldn’t be needed today. That’s why I took the breakaway.”

As the Tour hit excessive mountains with two first-category climbs, the principle favorites carefully watched one another and didn’t assault, saving power for the more durable days to return. The important pack of contenders crossed the end line 9 minutes 35 seconds behind the winner, with no main change within the general standings. Julian Alaphilippe of France stored the race chief’s yellow jersey, 1:12 forward of Thomas.

Thomas’s teammate Egan Bernal, the Ineos co-leader, remained in third place, a additional 4 seconds behind.

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