Dennis just missed out on winning the stage one time trial in Jerusalem, seeing Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) top him by two seconds. On Saturday, he sprinted for the intermediate line and took three seconds to overhaul Dumoulin.
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“It’s an honour to be such a small group of active riders, but I didn’t think it was going to happen when I first started racing,” the 27-year-old said.
“I thought if I ever do, it’d be huge. I hoped it’d be later in my career, and I hope my career doesn’t end soon! It is an honour though.”
Dennis joins three other active riders in the peloton to have worn all three leader’s jerseys: Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Aru and Mark Cavendish.
“It is special,” he added. “I hoped it’d happen one day, I hope too that this is not the last time to wear one though, it’d be great to wear more of them.”
The former Hour Record holder won the time trial to kick off the 2015 Tour de France in Utrecht. He wore the famous yellow top for one day. In the 2017 Vuelta, he had it for one day after BMC Racing won the opening team time trial.
“It’s different here in the Giro d’Italia. The yellow jersey was from an individual TT, but this was special in its own right. I wouldn’t be here without the team,” said Dennis.
“In the Tour de France, there as a team behind the scenes with mechanics and directors, doing the work for me to produce that ride.”
Dennis faces one more day in Israel before, to Eilat, before a rest day and transfer to Sicily. There, the race becomes even harder with technical stages and a summit finish to Mount Etna, stage six.
“I hope to keep it as long as possible. It’d be really special to take it into Italy,” Dennis said. “Tomorrow is the initial goal, to keep it tomorrow, and then wearing it in Sicily would be more special because it’s an Italian race. The Italians will appreciate the jersey in BMC.”
He explained that he will race as high as possible in the overall in 2018, but that this is part of his and BMC Racing’s learning process to develop him into a grand tour rider for 2019.
“I’m trying not to put much pressure on, saying where I want to come or if it’s a top five, 10 or 20, it’s more of the process and getting to the finish in Rome in one piece,” Dennis added.
“I haven’t had much luck lately with grand tours. Also testing my legs in the third week is a big goal of mine and my coaches and seeing the work we’ve done and if it’s appropriate for me in a grand tour, that’s the big goal over the next three weeks.”