With Cadel Evans as the team leader on his last stage race before retirement, Rohan Dennis' race lead after winning the third stage of the Tour Down Under came as a surprise to all. Nonetheless, the 24-year-old hometown local proved to have the better legs and convincingly held it together against a charging Richie Porte of Team Sky, winning the race by a mere two seconds.
Dennis got his start on the track; as part of the 2010 world championship winning pursuit team with the likes of Jack Bobridge. With an attempt at the Hour Record coming up on February 8, it sure seems that Dennis has the speed to take the record.
Just like the rest of the team, Dennis rides a Teammachine SLR01 for most of the races, including the Tour Down Under. As a recent recruit to the BMC Racing team, Dennis' bike is a perfect showcase of ‘team-issue' spec.
BMC pitches the Teammachine is the 'perfect combination of weight, stiffness and vertical compliance' – something that in our testing has proven to be pretty close to the truth.
This frame doesn't claim is aerodynamics, but like so many other brand's Grand Tour type frames, it seems to remain a less important quality.
Amongst the bikes of the peloton, BMC's are easy to spot with the distinctive cross brace between the top tube and seat tube. Where this concept originally offered some reinforcement and force distribution, it's realistically now a defining cosmetic feature of the Swiss bikes.
It's common for frames to use the same cable port for gear housing or Di2 wiring, However, BMC does it differently with a little port near the rear brake housing entry-point for Di2, creating an extremely clean look with minimal wire to poke out vulnerably. In the case of Dennis' bike, the gear cable port behind the head tube remains unused and cleanly covered.
With the team sponsored by Shimano and SRM, there's little surprise in the full Dura-Ace Di2 9070 groupset and matched SRM power meter crank. Dennis doesn't use any additional sprint or climber's shifters, instead sticking with the single point of shifting from behind the brake lever.
The brakes on Dennis' bike felt completely dialled, with much credit to the rear brake setup with segmented compression-free housing.
Stuck to the Shimano Dura-Ace C50 wheels are Continental Competition ALX LTD 25mm tubulars, something that is commonly seen in the pro-peloton but extremely hard to find otherwise.
Much like Team Sky has done with its PRO components, the 3T parts on BMC are special 'team-issue' versions of otherwise standard items – purely done to make the Italian brand's logos clearer.