Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) finished second on the stage and became the new Critérium du Dauphiné leader.
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Australian delivers fine showing in time trial
After finishing his time trial to Parc des Oiseaux at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Andrew Talansky turned towards a Garmin-Sharp teammate and said "this course is excellent for Rohan [Dennis]."
While Talansky's legs have been found wanting in this year's Dauphiné due to illness, his predictions look far more solid with Dennis powering to second place on the stage and a surprise overall lead.
The Australian first year professional finished 47 seconds down on stage winner Tony Martin but crucially kept eight seconds between himself and Christopher Froome (Team Sky) who now looms second overall, eight seconds down.
"It was surprisingly good out there," Dennis told Cyclingnews as he warmed down.
At that stage it looked as though the former track specialist would move into the white jersey with Froome the likely leader by the end of the day. However Dennis has impressed against the clock already this season with top ten placings in time trials at the Tour de Romandie and Tour of California.
"I knew that I had good form but I never knew what sort of recovery I'd have after a few strong stages with a much higher class field than the one at California. I had slight doubt that I'd be as good as California but I've come out of that with some better form and surprised myself a bit," Dennis added.
"At the start of the race it was everything for Talansky. After the first stage, he wasn't feeling too well and he told me to go and not worry about him. I've just tried to hold on until now. The goal for today was to take the white jersey but anything from here on in is a huge bonus, to be wearing a jersey in my first year at a WorldTour race is more than I expected."
In his yellow jersey press conference Dennis hesitated as to whether he and his team would attempt to defend the yellow jersey.
"At the moment I've not put any thought into how I'm going to keep it or if I'm going to keep it. It's not something I expected to happen. It's a big ask for the team to ride on the front but I'll do whatever I can. It's a huge bonus to be wearing it and I'll just enjoy it and hope for the best. The climb tomorrow isn't too steep so we'll see what happens."
The Dauphiné aside, the question is whether Dennis could line up for the Tour de France in Corisca in a few weeks’ time. With a team time trial in the first week, Dennis' skills against the clock and his pursuit know-how could be invaluable for team that looks as though it’s going through a transitional phase.
With a number of riders on the wrong side of thirty and the likes of Daniel Martin, Talansky and Dennis riding well the Garmin management will need to decide if they'll pick riders based off form or reputation. Dennis was on the Garmin long-list for the Tour twelve weeks ago, and today's move into yellow will only help his chances of selection.
"There's obviously a possibility but at the moment the team knows I'm a first-year pro and it's a big ask to do the Tour. If I get to do it, it would be a huge bonus and I'd be over the moon. It's not something we've talked about yet though and the team is up in the air for the Tour minus a few senior riders."
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