Two years ago Rohan Dennis used the Critérium du Dauphiné to announce himself on the main stage with a stint in the yellow jersey after a strong ride in the individual time trial. Fast forward to the 2015 edition of the race and the Australian rider is back in yellow after BMC claimed the team time trial on stage 3.
A lot has changed for Dennis in the intervening years. He has started his first Tour de France, won the Tour Down Under, set a then-UCI Hour Record, moved teams in a rare mid-season transfer, won an Olympic silver and took gold in the World Championships. For a 25-year-old he's accomplished rather a lot.
Now in yellow, he has his sights set on performing throughout the rest of the Dauphiné with the Tour de France on the horizon.
"My objective this week was the team time teal and to help the team win the stage," he said during his winner's press conference in Montagny.
The overall in this year's race is not – as the race stands – an objective; BMC's nominated leader is Tejay van Garderen, who is currently tied with Dennis on time.
"I am stronger in the mountains [than 2013] but Tejay is a better climber than me and his form in the mountains is better than mine at the moment. I'm not going to throw the yellow jersey away but if I'm having a bad day and Tejay needs my help I'll do that and hopefully he'll take the jersey off my shoulders."
The last few months of Dennis' season have seen him make the transition from road to track and back again. He began the season in fine form with a win in the Tour Down Under before setting a UCI Hour Record of 51.852 kilometres in April. The move back to road has not been as easy as expected but the Australian is now finding feet as well the necessary results to gain a place in BMC's Tour de France line-up.
"It's been a little bit difficult," he said. "Obviously the high from [winning] the Tour Down Under and then the Hour Record, it was more of a mental battle than a physical one, having a huge high then having a bit of a break and trying to rebuild into more of a road rider again was a little bit tougher than I expected. It's coming good now."
The Hour Record
Dennis' previous record of 51.852 kilometres was bested first by Alex Dowsett (52.937) and then by Bradley Wiggins, who set the new record at 54.526 last weekend.
Dennis, who has a firm track pedigree, confirmed that he will return to the velodrome in the future for another attempt at the record but insisted that his immediate-to-medium term ambitions are on the road.
"I'm definitely going to try for it again in the future. It was a very, very, special ride by Wiggo. I was quietly happy that the barometric pressure was high. It makes life for myself, Alex or anyone else easier to break it in the future. Obviously Alex and myself have age on our side. I'm not looking to do it anytime soon but probably when I'm around 30 to 35 and a little bit stronger and older."
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