A rare mid-season move may pay further dividends for BMC recruit Rohan Dennis at the Australian national time trial championships next month.
Dennis, under a typical October transfer arrangement, would have had just seven days to familiarise himself with new team equipment prior to the 40.9km title event he has identified as an objective.
Instead, the 24-year-old has had months to race and train on BMC apparatus due to an August transfer that saw him leave Garmin-Sharp, in an amicable agreement agent Andrew McQuaid oversaw, and begin racing for his new squad at the Eneco Tour.
The widely recognised October window allows riders to change teams in the off-season but, as per International Cycling Union (UCI) rules, they cannot swap bike or kit over until January 1.
“It’s a huge bonus that I got to get all my bikes six months before nationals in Australia,” Dennis told Cycling Weekly in Melbourne. “That transitional period from August through to September, start of October, is going to help me a lot for next year.”
The London Olympic Games team pursuit silver medallist has called on the UCI to consider modifying team transfer rules based on his positive experience, which also enabled him to compete at the Vuelta a Espana and help power BMC to victory in the team time trial world championships in September.
“I didn’t know it was possible unless there were circumstances where a team wasn’t paying you and they were breaking contract,” Dennis said of his uncommon move.
“I think it’s where the sport needs to go, or at least have it where you change … straight after the last race of the season so you’re not waiting to January 1 and having to change bikes just before nationals.”
Dennis said he was concerned about how the venture would be perceived publicly and within the peloton but it has proved pretty smooth sailing.
“There were a few jokes [in the bunch] about what team I’m going to be in after worlds or how long I’m going to be in BMC,” he said. “ But I’m going to be there for hopefully more than two-and-a-half years. If they give me another contract I’m going to be happy to stay.
“[Fabian] Cancellara came up alongside me and said, ‘how do you feel jumping bikes?’” Dennis continued. “He actually did say, ‘I don’t know how you did it.’ A few guys are like that in the pro peloton – they don’t like to change equipment unless they’ve got time to get used to it training after a break.”
Dennis has focused on time trialling throughout pre-season and preparation for his national title assault has also included track time.
He put less of an emphasis on the discipline this year but still finished on the podium in five of the 11 individual tests he competed in, and placed fifth at the world championships.