Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) finished a creditable seventh in the mountain time trial at the Tour de Romandie, and despite admitting that his pacing could have been better over the 9.9km test, he added that his ride had given him a confidence boost ahead of next month's Giro d'Italia.
Dennis, one of the best time triallist in the world over flatter courses, was using the Romandie mountain time trial to gauge his form ahead of the Giro d'Italia, where he will lead the line for BMC Racing. Like most of the competition, he raced on a standard road bike, without aero bars.
The Australian was seventh fastest at the intermediate time check at 4.4km, 38 seconds down on early pace-setter and teammate Richie Porte. By the time Dennis reached the line, he had conceded 1:26 to stage winner Egan Bernal (Team Sky) but remains in the top 10 and 1:22 off the time of race leader Primoz Roglic (LottoNl-Jumbo). Saturday's mountain stage will provide Dennis with another pre-Giro examination, but for now, he appears content despite the small errors.
"It's a good confidence boost. What I did today, I normally wouldn't be able to on a hilly time trial. Normally I would put out more power on my time trial bike. We have decreased the gap between the two (road and TT bike)," he told Cyclingnews as he warmed down.
"I think I may have gone out too hard. But I was nervous about it being steeper at the start and losing time on the slowest part. In those parts, you could lose time or maybe gain time. And I paid for it in the end.
"I had a good rhythm between the five-to-three kilometre mark but then it got steeper and I realised what I'd done at the start. I just had to suffer from there. I was hoping for a top five and I think I was seventh. I'm pretty happy with the climb. The power I had up there I was happy with, considering I didn't pace it well, to be honest."
With Porte up to third overall and Dennis sixth, BMC Racing have cards to play heading into Saturday's key mountain stage. Porte, the defending champion, came into the race looking for a solid performance after a disappointing few months, while Dennis will be hoping for one more decent ride before the Giro begins next month.