Rohan Dennis has deleted his social media profiles after posting a picture on Instagram appearing to show the Australian rider breaking lockdown rules.
Dennis lives in Girona, Spain, and posted a picture showing him in his car, captioning the image: “Day 34 – cracked and left the house. #covid19 can suck my ass and so can quarantine.”
In the comments, one person suggested the Ineos rider would be told off and soon have to issue a public apology, to which Dennis replied: “Imagine if everyone lived by your ideal world that we can’t speak our mind and show our emotions.”
Another asked why Dennis would waste his time with the inevitable backlash from posting the picture, with the world time trial champion answering: “Or I could show the reality of how s**t the situation is and not be one of your beloved drones who show their ‘perfect world’ as an elite athlete. Which one would you like. Real or fake?”
Dennis subsequently deleted both his Instagram and Twitter, something he did last year after quitting the Tour de France, saying that decision was taken with consideration for his mental health.
Spain is currently one of the countries that has been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 20,000 deaths. Lockdown measures are strict and people are not allowed out of their homes even to exercise.
Team Ineos, who have been contributing to coronavirus relief efforts, are yet to make a statement on the situation.
The British squad have been assisting their sponsors in distributing a million bottles of hand sanitiser to NHS hospitals in the UK.
With rescheduled dates for the Tour de France announced last week, Ineos boss Dave Brailsford said he would be taking a cautious approach to resuming racing, indicating he would pull his team from the race if it wasn’t safe.
“We would reserve the right to withdraw the team should we deem it necessary,” he said. “There will be a lot of debate generated about the rights and wrongs of the transitions out of lockdown across all aspects of society, including sporting events.
“Equally, most people recognise that the learning from transitioning out of lockdown will only take place once it begins. We will monitor the situation very carefully and of course take note of national guidance and all advice.”