Dennis hoping his Hour Record withstands challenges from Dowsett and Wiggins

Australian receiving BMC backing at Tour de Romandie

Australian world hour record holder Rohan Dennis says suggestions that Briton Bradley Wiggins could reach 54 or 55 kilometres in his June 7 attempt are "stupid".

But Dennis, speaking to Cyclingnews the night before he left his home near Girona in Spain for the Tour de Romandie that started on Tuesday and finishes Sunday does believe that the 2012 Tour de France champion has the capacity to pass the 53 kilometre mark when he goes for the record at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London.

However, Dennis (BMC), 24, realises that his record of 52.491km - set at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland on February 8 - may not even be the mark that Wiggins sets out to beat if Briton Alex Dowsett (Movistar) has his way.

The Dowsett threat …
Dowsett, 26 and who beat Dennis in the road time trial title at last year's Commonwealth Games, is due to go for the record on Saturday at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, having earlier postponed it due to a collar bone break.

Dennis understandably hopes to keep his record and savour more time to appreciate it.

"I hope he doesn't break the record," Dennis said. "It does feel like along time ago. It did come and go very quickly and I didn't take it in like I should have; but I will take it in later on in my career or later this year when I have a bit of a down period."

However, still wishes Dowsett a problem free and fair attempt at his world best.

"He is obviously a good time trialler," Dennis said of Dowsett's threat. "He beat me at the Commonwealth Games last year and he is always around the mark as well.

"When he puts his mind to something he is very determined … He is a danger and I am hoping obviously that it all goes smoothly for him – like not with mechanicals and what not – and he still doesn't beat my record. That would be the ideal outcome."

The Wiggins threat …
As for Wiggins, Dennis last spoke with the 35-year-old at Paris-Nice in March. But he says their chat revealed little detail about their respective record ride and attempt.

"Obviously I don't give [any hour riders] too many details, and they don't give me too many things," Dennis said. "It is sort of competition and we don't want anyone to go quicker – or further than the other. It's like doing a time trial but everyone does it at a different time. It is out in the open, but it is really not. [Talking it in detail would be] like giving someone an upper hand to beat your record. You wouldn't do it."

However, Dennis believes that Wiggins would be confident of what mark he is capable of, citing his age, experience and proven credentials as a track rider.

He believes Wiggins would be: "99 per cent sure he is probably going to beat my record. He is much older. He is a much, much more experienced better time triallist than me at the moment over a longer distance. It is a matter of: will he break 53 kilometres; and if he does, by how much? I don't think he is going to get 54 or 55.

 

"People throw stupid numbers like that out there because they believe … Correct me if I am wrong once he has done it, but I have huge doubts he is going to crack 54 or 55.

 

"That's sort of super human stuff. The numbers [for Dennis] were as good as what I thought. But I don't think physically you can do a whole lot more in the sense that if you want to do the 54 or 55 it's going to [require] pretty stupid numbers for an hour. And no amount of track experience or maturity, I don't think, can do it in this position."

 

From the hour to Le Tour …
Dennis, meanwhile, has plenty of objectives ahead of him in the next days and weeks.

At the Tour of Romandie which he has raced twice, he hopes to try for as good as a result overall as possible, with his plan after Tuesday's stage one team time trial in which BMC placed sixth being to ride as well as possible in the hillier early stages, minimise his time losses in Saturday's 167lkm fifth and Queen stage from Fribourg, over three summit and to the mountain finish at Champex-Lac and then gain as much time as possible in Sunday's sixth and final stage, a 17km time trial around Lausanne.

"Usually I have worked for someone else; but [in this year's race], I have a bit of free range to look after myself and I will have a few guys around me," Dennis said.

Dennis' season since his world hour record has understandably been quieter results-wise than how it began in January with his second place behind an in-form Richie Porte in the Australian time trial championship and victory at the Tour Down Under.

Dennis' form held going in to Paris-Nice where he placed second behind Polish world road champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) in the prologue time trial. But then the results dipped, as expected; and he rebuilt for a second peak for which he hopes the rewards will come in the Tour de Romandie and then the Tour de France.

After withdrawing from Paris-Nice the day before the final Col d'Eze time trial, he raced the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and for "cobbles experience" Dwars door Vlaanderen.

"I didn't want to try and hold the form," Dennis said. "I have done that before and it comes crashing down. I don't think I am yet at the physical maturity of guys like Richie Porte. I have to pick and chose which races to target and build up to them."

If all things go to plan, Dennis hopes to be on the start line of Tour de France on July 4 – but to help American general classification contender Tejay van Garderen.

Rupert Guinness is a sports writer on The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media) 

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