He may be pigeon-holed as a time trial specialist, but Rohan Dennis has shown regularly in the past that he can climb with the best on his day and, at the end of the second stage of the Tour of the Alps, the Australian demonstrated that he’s no mug in a sprint as well, taking the stage win in Innervillgraten.
Like the other big names participating in the revamped Giro del Trentino, Dennis has come to the race looking to fine-tune his form and boost his confidence going into the Giro d’Italia.
“I’ve come here for the final bit of top-end racing to prepare me for next month, and this gives me a bit more confidence going into the Giro d’Italia for sure,” he said in Innervillgraten.
Dennis admitted he’d made a bit of a hash of the finish the previous day in Innsbruck, losing 11 seconds to some of his key rivals on the uphill finale.
“Yesterday didn’t go exactly to plan and it knocked me a little bit, but I didn’t let that get to me as I know I have done a lot of work recently,” he said.
“Today helps get my confidence back up. We didn’t have huge climbs today but to have those legs in the finale is a good boost for my morale.”
The Australian, who said the victory wasn’t his first in a group sprint, although he played any comparisons to Marcel Kittel, Peter Sagan or even his own teammate Greg Van Avermaet, is attempting to replicate Bradley Wiggins’ switch from time trial specialist to Grand Tour contender.
The final three days of this race should give an indication to what extent he’s on track.
He offered an insight into part of the process involved in this when he revealed in his post-stage press conference, “I wanted to think with my legs today and I’ll do the same tomorrow. There’s no reason I can’t be in the top 10 again.
“I think I just have to not think on the bike. It’s not going to be easy, as there are three passes. I’ll have to remind myself that the final summit, with 30km to go, is my finish line. I’ll give all of my effort to the top of that and hopefully I’ll still be in contention for GC.”