Bahrain-Merida terminate Dennis's contract

FILE PHOTO: Tour de France - Bahrain-Merida News Conference
FILE PHOTO: Tour de France - Bahrain-Merida News Conference

HARROGATE, England (Reuters) - Australian world time-trial champion Rohan Dennis's Bahrain-Merida contract has been terminated with immediate effect, the World Tour team announced on Sunday.

Mystery surrounded Dennis's place in the team when he won the rainbow jersey on a blacked-out, unbranded bike in Harrogate on Wednesday -- his first race since abandoning the Tour de France with no explanation on stage 12 this year.

A statement released by the team on Sunday as Dennis competed in the road race at the UCI Road World Championships, said they had ended his contract on Sept. 13.

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"The team terminated its contract with Mr Dennis on 13th September 2019," the statement read. "This termination has not previously been made public to allow Mr Dennis an undisturbed preparation for the UCI 2019 Road World Championships.

"Mr Dennis has referred the termination to the UCI Arbitral Board. Against this background, no further comment will be made at this time."

Dennis joined the team only this year. He abandoned the road race on Sunday after a long stint at the head of the peloton trying to chase down a breakaway group.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)

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