Rohan Dennis talks 2019 Tour de France and Ineos signing

The time trial world champion opens up about the last year while talking to Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rohan Dennis has reflected on his turbulent 2019 season, which included pulling out of the Tour de France, winning a second consecutive time trial world title, and then signing for Team Ineos.

The Australian star made a shock exit from the Tour the day before the time trial, which resulted in a breakdown in the relationship with his Bahrain-Merida team.

Dennis’s contract was publicly terminated immediately after the World Championships in Yorkshire, leaving him without a team as 2020 loomed.

The 29-year-old then officially signed with British WorldTour outfit Ineos on December 6 where he jumped straight into a training camp in Mallorca.

Appearing on the Watts Occurring (opens in new tab), the podcast hosted by his new team-mates Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe, Dennis discussed the ups and downs of 2019.

When asked about his decision to pull out of the Tour, he said: “In the end it wasn’t good for me to be there for my family.

“I was struggling mentally and in the end it was affecting home life and it was only going to get worse so I decide what’s best for my family and jogged on.”

Dennis didn’t race again until his storming time trial World Championship victory in Yorkshire in September, when he smashed his nearest rival Remco Evenepoel by 1-09.

But that racing hiatus left a lot of time for doubt to creep in, Dennis recalled: “I probably read into all the s**t online too much. I wanted to know what was going on, where I stood in the cycling community.

“It’s probably the worst thing you can do.

“We couldn’t fight it back because it was all about keeping quiet. We agreed on being quiet and sorting it out behind closed doors, but a few things got out.

“[Winning] Was a relief more than anything. It was a good moment. I had my boy and wife at the finish line. It was special.”

Dennis decided to ride the Worlds TT in non-team kit, opting for an unmarked BMC bike and Kask helmet, rather than the Merida bikes and Rudy Project helmets used by Bahrain-Merida.

On September 13, two weeks before the Worlds, Bahrain-Merida terminated Dennis’s contract but did not make the news public until the conclusion of the World Championship road race on September 29.

Despite his emphatic TT victory, Dennis faced an uncertain future as he searched for a new team, eventually beginning talks with Ineos in October.

On December 6 he signed a new contract with Ineos, joking that his paycheque isn’t as big as it used to be.

Discussing his reason for joining Ineos, he said: “It’s the place I think will be able to support my Olympics and time trial aspirations, but also just in the general the team here seems and always has seemed focussed on attention to details.

“When there’s something that can be done, [some teams] just shrug their shoulders and go ‘I can’t be bothered.'

“That doesn’t happen here.”

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Dennis also revealed his has plans to target Victor Campenaerts’s Hour Record, a title Dennis held for three months in 2015.

He revealed he would need to average 430 watts to do 55.5km, which would beat Campenaerts’s distance of 55.089.

Dennis said he plans to take on the Hour Record after the Tokyo Olympics in July.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.