On his fourth attempt, Rohan Dennis can finally call himself a national time trial champion.
Starting one minute ahead of defending champion Richie Porte, Dennis had the quickest time at the mid-way intermediate time check over his BMC teammate and increased his advantage on the return to claim the Australian title in a time of 51:13 minutes, 38 seconds ahead of Porte, and 1:34 minutes ahead of Sean Lake (Avanti).
Dennis was second in his first year of racing elite, was thrown from his bike when a mini-tornado struck in 2014 and collected another silver medal 12-months ago having started as the outright favourite.
“It’s obviously always a dream to win Aussie nationals. I’ve won under 23 and now I have a senior medal and to be able to wear the green and gold in every time trial is a true honour,” Dennis said of his commanding victory.
Obviously, Sunday’s still to come and there is still a jersey so we can’t celebrate tonight but we can have a small celebration and say ‘job well done’ for Thursday.
“[It’s the] Monkey off the back now in seniors you could say now, it’s a good day”
Dennis’ Tour de France victory last July opened the floodgates for the 25-year-old who has started to turn near misses against the clock into victories. Last year Dennis had the quickest time at the half-way point but his pacing was off and a strong second half from Porte meant that Dennis missed the title by seven seconds.
2016 was a different story with Dennis building on his advantage from the intermediate point to ensure a comfortable victory with just Porte within 90 seconds of his time.
The two-time under 23 time trial champion credited his successful hour record attempt last February for helping him with pacing and remaining focused throughout the ride.
“If you take into account the weight, the power was higher today than last year but I paced it better and I didn’t blow,” said Dennis who posted a time of 51:57 last year on the same course.
“It was me riding a smarter race. I rode quicker than last year but the wind was opposite so it’s hard to gauge. If it was the same conditions as last year, I’d be able to tell you pretty exactly.”
Dennis added that he has learned to start slow and gradually increase the watts to finish strong rather than arrive struggling in the red.
For Porte, who was the only rider within one minute of Dennis, second place was a welcome reward in his first outing for BMC. He explained he was happy to finally make his debut with the team with his result an indicator of current form.
“It’s more than what I expected to be honest. A bit more of a relaxed start to the year. I am happy to be on the podium to be honest, I am not surprised to see that Rohan’s taken this win. He deserves it, he’s hungry and I know how much he’s wanted that national jersey,” Porte said.
Read more at Cycling News