Rohan Dennis says it was a change in mentality that drove him to a second World time trial title in Yorkshire, saying he has learned to be more positive since his mysterious Tour de France abandonment in July.
The Australian left the Tour on stage 12 and hasn’t raced for his Bahrain-Merida team since. In the time away, he has been working towards defending his time trial title at the Road World Championships and says his work with a sports psychologist was key in his emphatic victory.
Dennis lined up for his turn on the 54km course from Northallerton to Harrogate in his Aussie national skinsuit and on an unmarked BMC Timemachine time trial bike. He started blisteringly fast and eventually finished over a minute ahead of second place Remco Evenepoel (Belgium). Dennis celebrated across the finish line knowing he had claimed his second rainbow jersey.
“All the hard work and all the hard times have been worth it,” Dennis said following his victory, “so I’m very, very happy with everything.
“There’s been a lot of work done off the bike mentally to get me prepared just to line up here, let alone win,” he explained.
“So really, it’s a reminder that it wasn’t just my body, my body was always good. It was a lot of work off the bike from my sports psychologist, David Spindler and almost a bit of a thank you as well for what he had done for me.
“[He got] me to believe and be more confident and not be so negative in my head, to be more positive about the good things that are going on in my life.”
Such was the power and confidence in Dennis’s performance, he passed two extremely talented time triallists in Hour Record holder Victor Campanaerts (Belgium) and Vuelta a España winner Primož Roglič (Slovenia) on the course, though Campenaerts had suffered a crash.
Dennis identified though that it had not been until very recently, earlier this month in fact, that he had gained his confidence back ahead of the race. He added that he is ready to continue to push himself in the sport following his time away, with an eye on the Tokyo Olympics time trial in 2020.
“To be exact the 15th of September,” Dennis said of regaining his confidence. “I had a good training session. We mimicked last year’s preparation training session and we bettered it, comfortably. So that’s when my confidence really came back.
“I’m confident in myself. I’m confident that well, basically I’m here to stay,” he added. “I’m here to continue to win and continue to basically push to be the best in the world. Not just for the next 12 months but in the future as well.
“So for myself, yes, I know I will be here for a lot longer. I’m not going anywhere.”