TOUR EXIT: BMC Racing’s Rohan Dennis, of Australia, crosses the finish line of the 13th stage of the Tour de France, an individual time trial over 37.5km between Bourg-Saint-Andeol and La Caverne du Pont-d'Arc.
TOUR EXIT: BMC Racing’s Rohan Dennis, of Australia, crosses the finish line of the 13th stage of the Tour de France, an individual time trial over 37.5km between Bourg-Saint-Andeol and La Caverne du Pont-d'Arc. YOAN VALAT

Aussie rider leaves Tour to focus on Olympics

CYCLING: BMC Racing has granted Australia's Rohan Dennis an early exit from the Tour de France so he can focus on his Olympic preparations.

Dennis, 26, who won silver at the 2012 London Olympics in the team pursuit, will compete in the road race and time trial in Brazil.

"It has been an incredibly tough two weeks of racing at the Tour de France and Rohan has been an asset to the team, both with his fifth place in the first time trial, and working in support of our leaders throughout the race," BMC Racing sports director Yvon Ledanois said.

"The next two weeks are crucial for him as he prepares for the Rio Olympics and given the final time trial here at the Tour de France isn't suited to him, his preparation is best done at home in order to avoid further fatigue."

In 126th place overall, Dennis was more than two-and-a-half hours behind leader Chris Froome.

British sprinter Mark Cavendish - the winner of four stages on this year's Tour but sitting in 155th place - also withdrew on the rest day to concentrate on his Rio Olympic preparation.

With four stages left in the Tour - three of them in the Alps - heading into tonight's 17th stage, Froome is expecting his rivals to be more aggressive.

The Team Sky leader, who has comfortably held the yellow jersey since taking the lead in stage eight, is one minute and 47 seconds ahead of Trek-Segafredo's Bauke Mollema.

"I feel as if I've been waiting for these four days," Froome said.

"Perhaps some other riders have too.

"I think that one of the main reasons we've not seen massive attacks is the level of fatigue.

"At the moment everyone is nailed. The first two weeks have been full gas."

Froome would not be surprised to see a challenge from Movistar's Nairo Quintana, who is in fourth place and 2min 59sec off the lead.

"Last year he made up a lot of time in the final week, and I expect he's going to be one of the main guys who is going to put us under pressure these next few days," the race leader said.


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