Rohan Dennis bookended his first win on the opening day of the Digital Swiss Five with another victory in the final fifth race.
In fact, it was a repeat of the one-two result on Wednesday, as the Australian beat Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) by 12 seconds, with Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard in third, 26 seconds later.
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EF Pro Cycling’s James Whelan had attacked early but the world time trial champion soon caught his compatriot, barely being troubled over the remaining kilometres as Nicolas Roche desperately hustled behind in vain to close the gap.
Star riders such as Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Trek-Segafredo’s Vincenzo Nibali failed to feature in the top of the rankings.
How it happened
The now-expected initial attack came from Bahrain-McLaren’s Wout Poels, with his former team-mate Michał Kwiatkowski reacting and other riders scrambling to get on his wheel as the race immediately headed uphill.
However, the Dutch rider fell back as James Whelan (EF Pro Cycling) made a solo move out front. After 4km Whelan had taken out an 80m advantage, pumping out 450W as he tried to make his move stick as Ilnur Zakarin (CCC), Rohan Dennis (Ineos) and Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) tried to pull him back.
It wasn’t long until Dennis had ditched his poursuivant group and was making his way up towards Whelan. By the halfway-stage of the climb, he had overtaken his fellow Australian.
As Whelan dropped back Schachmann took up the chase in second, 50m behind Dennis. After 10km, however, the Ineos rider had pulled 140m clear, with the downhill section still to come where the world time trial champion’s abilities could truly shine. At the first time check Dennis was 12 seconds ahead of Schachmann, with Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) a further five seconds back.
Schachmann soon fell back, with Vingegaard leapfrogging him as Dennis crested the climb, putting out 400w as he extended his advantage to 250m.
After 20km and the majority of riders now on the downhill, Dennis was taking full advantage, flying away from the rest of the field, his gap up to a whopping 500m.
Julian Alaphilippe then briefly hopped off his bike to grab his tv remote, trying to keep himself entertained as he failed to threaten the top of the standings.
Nicolas Roche was grimacing on his Monaco balcony but his effort was paying off as he climbed up to second place. The Irishman was gaining too, bringing Dennis back to within 140m, with Schachmann 90m further behind Roche as they approached the final hill to the finish.
As the gradient reached seven per cent, a wide-eyed, fairly comfortable looking Dennis was still pumping out 450W from his garage as Roche turned himself inside out in his attempt to catch the Ineos rider.
Under the flamme rouge, Roche had brought Dennis back to within 90m, 11 seconds behind, with Vingegaard the next closest half a minute back.
The Australian was unstoppable as he duly crossed the line in first, and with Roche second it was a repeat of the first Digital Swiss Five race result.
Digital Swiss Five, race five: Camperio to Disentis-Sedrun (37.82km)
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos, in 59-28
2. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb, at 12 seconds
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, at 38s
4. Chris Hamilton (Aus) Sunweb, at 45s
5. Max Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 49s