Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) looks at Bradley Wiggins and Tom Dumoulin for inspiration for his 2018 season. Both are time triallists who have won Grand Tours, an achievement that the 27-year-old Australian hopes to emulate.
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“What inspired me in the Giro d’Italia in 2017 was not what I did or didn’t do, but how Dumoulin raced and how inspired it was,” Dennis said at a BMC Racing Team camp. “He raced physically and mentally, and he stayed positive no matter what happened in the stage.
“They lost Wilco Kelderman in stage nine with the motorcycle. They all regrouped and worked it out. We can joke about it now, but the toilet incident… I thought he lost the Giro that day, but he didn’t it. He kept his head on and fought all by himself with no help.
“Inspiring for me? Yeah. We are similar riders, he’s tried to become a GC rider a couple years before me. It gives me confidence. Wiggins, as well. A pure time trial rider who is able to be a Tour de France champion and world champion time triallist. It’s possible for the type of rider I am to be good in the Grand Tours.”
Dennis helped Australia to silver at the 2012 London Olympics behind Great Britain’s gold medal ride in the team pursuit with Wiggins. He set the Hour Record before Wiggins. And won the opening time trial in the Tour de France to wear the yellow jersey. However, much remains to accomplish.
Watch: Giro d’Italia 2017 stage 21 highlights
“To be able to put out that power that I can do in a TT in the fourth or fifth hour of a stage. I’ve got some work to do on that front,” he continued.
“Weight is obviously a factor, but if you lose too much weight and you get sick, or you lose your power, then that’s an issue. The main thing is building up your strength so your threshold doesn’t fade too much after four to five hours, but remains similar from the first hour to the fifth. That’s a big factor in becoming a GC rider for three weeks. You get tested in one-week races, but going into the third week is a different beast.
“This is one of four years that I’ve set out to target to become a GC riders, I keep saying that if it doesn’t work out after four years, then that’s fine, I’ll go back to what I know I’m really good at, time trialling and one-week week tours. Hopefully, I can pick up at least one, or more world titles in the time trial, but once again, the GC, I don’t care what Grand Tour it is.”
This year, BMC Racing’s Grand Tour schedule sends Dennis with leadership support to the Giro d’Italia and Richie Porte back to the Tour de France.
In 2017, Dennis crashed in stage three and pulled out the next day. Dumoulin used the two big time trials and a mountain defence to become the first Dutchman to win the Italian race. For 2018, cycling’s top star Froome arrives for a chance at the gold spiral trophy.
“I can understand why he is. Being the winner of the Tour and Vuelta, he doesn’t want to be known just as Tour champion and I think that he wants to have all three. For him, it could be interesting to see how he is going in the Tour after the Giro.”