Peiper: Dennis' Volta a Catalunya abandon is no reason to panic

BMC sporting manager believes there is plenty of time for the Australian to come back ahead of major goals

BMC are confident that Rohan Dennis’ latest illness setback will not hinder him when it comes to his season’s main goals. Dennis was forced to pull out of the Volta a Catalunya after just the first stage, developing what the team described as ‘flu-like symptoms’.

It’s the second time this month that Dennis has had to drop out of a race because of illness. He was forced to miss Paris-Nice after developing sinusitis ahead of the race. BMC’s sporting manager Allan Peiper says that they will have to alter Dennis’ programme, but he believes that there is plenty of time to turn his season around.

“Obviously, it’s worrying, but that is what we do as a pro team, we worry about our riders. We don’t just want top results, we want the best for them,” he told Cyclingnews. “Rohan was sick before Paris-Nice and now again at Catalunya. We’ll have to have a rethink, and our medical team will be on top of that. We want to get him back into racing but at 100 per cent. The season is long. They’re racing right until the end of October with the Worlds in Qatar, so there is no reason to panic, especially for his prime events.”

Dennis is riding his second full season for the BMC team, after joining them in late 2014. He had a breakthrough season with them in 2015, winning the Tour Down Under, two stages of the Tour de France (the individual and team time trials), the overall title at the USA Pro Challenge and he was part of the BMC squad that won the world team time trial title.

He’s had a strong start to the season, beating teammate Richie Porte to the Australian national time trial title in January. He helped Porte take second at the Tour Down Under and had been set to make his European racing debut at Paris-Nice until he fell ill. There is no definite timescale for Dennis’ return, but he is due to kick-start his preparations for the Tour de France in May.

“We’re going to have to take it day by day and see when he recovers, give him enough time to train and that he’s on top of it and ready to race again. There’s no rush, which is a good thing. We might have to tweak a couple of things but, generally speaking, his season starts,” said Peiper.

“As I said before, the end of the season is heavily back-ended with the Tour de France, the Olympic Games and the World Championships, so there’s enough time for him to recoup and focus on the goals.”

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