Dennis: I rode a perfect time trial for my ability at the moment

Australian impresses en route to fifth in Worlds TT

Right up until the final climb of the World Championships time trial, Rohan Dennis was within touching distance of the podium and though he slipped to fifth by the finish, the Australian's was a performance that augurs much for the future.

Before the start, Bradley Wiggins and Tony Martin were deemed to be on another plane to the rest of the competition in Ponferrada, but while they duly lived up to their billing by placing first and second, Dennis surpassed his own expectations to finish within a minute of the Briton.

"Hopefully in ten years I'll win," Dennis smiled afterwards. "It's obviously one of the goals in my career is to win the world time trial championships and getting within a minute of Wiggo is a big confidence boost for me. It's a huge step from last year and losing three minutes, so each year it's getting better."

A malfunctioning radio earpiece meant that Dennis was riding without time splits for much of the 47-kilometre course but at this level, it doesn't take a sixth sense to guess when you're in with a shout of a medal. The hovering presence of the television motorbike during the second part of his effort told its own tale.

"I got the first time split and then my radio stopped," Dennis said. "So from then on, I was just looking at my power. You can sort of sense that when the cameras are around you, you're near the mark especially towards the end, so I used that as a guide. I knew I was within range of a medal or close to. It's always a bit of a confidence thing when the camera is there."

Dennis was third at the midway point and just 6 seconds off the lead, but he began to flag on the final, hillier section of the course. He slipped to fourth at the final time check and eventually dropped to fifth at 57 seconds as Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) made a late charge for bronze.

"I was hoping by then I'd have enough gas to get over the climbs and hold on to guys like Wiggo and Tony. Realistically I knew I probably wasn't going to beat them but to get third was definitely a possibility today if I had an absolute ripper of a day," Dennis said.

"Physically that's all I had to give. I rode a perfect time trial for my ability at the moment. I need to work on not so much the climbing power but that bit just over the top of the climbs. I couldn't really punch over the top. I couldn't get the speed back up and going as quickly as what I would've done at the start of the race."


Given his surprise defeat at the hands of Anton Vorobyev in the under-23 time trial in Valkenburg in 2012, there is perhaps little wonder that eventually landing a rainbow jersey in the discipline at professional is something of a fixation for Dennis. Certainly, Australian coach Bradley McGee had future battles in mind when he offered his assessment of the youngster's performance.

"He maybe didn't have the full legs we expected to finish the job over the climb but the strategy was set with an eye on the coming years," McGee said. "His line and his technical delivery was spot on which we haven't seen always from him, so it's very encouraging. I'm not getting overly excited about it but it's very encouraging."

Dennis made the switch from Garmin-Sharp to BMC last month in a novel mid-season transfer, and McGee feels that the move has already begun to pay dividends, not least because he is now under the tutelage of sporting manager Allan Peiper. Indeed, on Sunday, Dennis was part of BMC's world championship winning sextet in the team time trial, the third world title of his career after a brace of team pursuit gold medals on the track.

"Fortunately with Allan Peiper and his new team, it's a perfect environment for Rohan to be in to make those subtle changes he needs. At the same time, you need to be patient, and wait for age and maturity to do its thing," McGee said. "But you'd expect with that attitude and that delivery, give him a couple of years and a couple of more of these events, and he'll get through that closing 15 percent. Then he's in the game."

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