Rohan Dennis pulls out of Volta a Catalunya with illness

Australian forced to abandon race with 'flu-like' symptoms, having had to already abandon Paris-Nice with illness earlier this year

Rohan Dennis (BMC) has been forced to pull out of a second race this month after suffering from illness at the Volta a Catalunya. The Australian was forced to miss the start of Paris-Nice on March 6 with sinusitis.

Dennis finished Monday’s 175.8km stage one, which was won by Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), crossing the line over six minutes down on the winner.

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The 25-year-old was feeling good until about halfway through the opening stage, according to a BMC team doctor, before being dropped in the final 10km of the race.

The team took the decision that it was “in his best interests not to start today in order to avoid any further illness and jeopardize his long term plan for this year.”

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Australian time trial champion Dennis said he was disappointed in not being able to continue the week-long race.

“I was feeling good when I arrived in Catalunya on Sunday,” he said.

“It looked like I was 100% but obviously there was something underlying and racing yesterday has flared it up. It’s disappointing not to continue racing here, but I have some big goals for this year which are still to come and my health comes first.”

Two other riders abandoned during the tough first stage to the race in northern Spain, with Kris Boeckmans abandoning within the opening 30km after his long recovery since crashing at the 2015 Vuelta a España, while Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) also called it quits during the stage.