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Bahrain-Merida terminate contract with Rohan Dennis

Joe Robinson
30 Sep 2019

Australian parts ways with team following season of sponsor controversy

Bahrain-Merida have terminated their contract with elite men's time trial World Championships Rohan Dennis with immediate effect. In a short press release, the team confirmed the two-deal had been brought to an end and that the decision had been made prior to last week's World Championships in Yorkshire.

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

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

The dispute between the two parties began during the Tour de France when Dennis abandoned the race on Stage 12 without a publicly stated reason.

It was rumoured that the Australian quit the race following a dispute surrounding the clothing and bike he was scheduled to use at the individual time trial on Stage 13.

Following his abandonment, Dennis began a 10-week preparation to defend his elite men's time trial World title. During that period, he did not enter competition despite telling an Australian newspaper he wanted to race the Vuelta a Espana.

The 29-year-old defended his World time trial title on Wednesday riding a blacked-out BMC instead of his sponsor-issue Merida. Dennis then used a fully-branded BMC to take on Sunday's road race.

The team's statement confirmed that Dennis was aware of his contract coming to an end prior to the World Championships, most likely making his decision to not use sponsor-supplied equipment easier. Earlier in the week, he had already told press that he planned to end his season at the World Championships.

The question now is where will Dennis go?

Being World Champion, it is unlikely that the time trial specialist will be short of offers and it is believed that Team Ineos, CCC Team and Trek-Segafredo have all made enquires.

One further team that should be considered are Dimension Data. The African team are currently contracted with BMC, the very bikes Dennis opted to use for his rainbow jersey defence.