Rod Ellingworth has said he wanted Rohan Dennis to stay at Bahrain-Merida, a week after it was announced the Australian’s contract had been terminated.
The British coach is soon to be unveiled as the new team principal of Bahrain-Merida, and with familiar faces such as Mikel Landa and Wout Poels arriving as new signings Ellingworth will be looking to turn the team into one of the peloton’s powerhouses.
However, Ellingworth counts the double world time trial champion his team has parted ways with as a big loss, saying Dennis was definitely part of his plans going forward.
“One thing I will say is I wanted Rohan to stay,” Ellingworth told The Telegraph. “He was definitely a part of my long-term plans so I’m disappointed at the way things have panned out.”
Dennis is said to be challenging his contract termination which was announced before the end of the men’s road race at the Yorkshire World Championships, with the Australian having climbed off amidst torrential conditions. Four days earlier he had defended his world time trial title in his first race since abandoning the Tour de France on stage 12, apparently due to a disagreement about equipment.
After his years of dominating the Tour de France with Sky and Ineos, Ellingworth says he has similar plans of Grand Tour domination with his new employers, and seems to relish the prospect of going up against his old boss, Dave Brailsford.
“I’ve no problem in saying that I want this team to become a grand tour-winning team,” Ellingworth says. “And yes, that means a Tour de France-winning team.”
While the 47-year-old sees Wout Poels as more of an option to contest week-long stage races, he views Mikel Landa as “clearly one of the most gifted climbers in the world. So natural when he’s up on his pedals.
“He’s starting to get to grips with what it takes to be a leader,” Ellingworth says, “and I think he’s bloody dangerous in the third week if the course is right for him. We’re going to find out.”