Dennis' bid for Worlds gold medal undone by flat tyre

Rohan Dennis (Australia) started the time trial World Championships as one of thee big pre-race favourites for the rainbow jersey alongside three-time winner Tony Martin (Germany) and Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands). A mid-race flat tyre ended Dennis' hopes of the gold medal but the 25-year-old explained after finishing in sixth place that Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus) was simply unstoppable on the 53km Richmond course.

"It started pretty well. I went out on my pace. I was little bit down on after the first two checkpoints but holding steady," Dennis said. "With around 25-kilometres to go, I was going on the main highway and I got a rear puncture. Bit of a bummer, but it's sort of the way it goes sometimes.

"I could try to blame that on the reason why I lost, but I wouldn't have beaten Kiryienka anyway," added Dennis who finished fifth at last years Worlds. "He was on an awesome ride. Now I'm back to the drawing board to work on next year and Rio."

Dumoulin proved to be the fastest of the pre-race trio as he slotted into fifth, six seconds ahead of Dennis, while Martin didn't "have the right answers" as he crossed the line in seventh. Dennis had helped BMC Racing defend its team time trial title on Sunday and was looking for his first senior medal against the clock Wednesday which was one three major goals in 2015. The other two being the Hour Record and opening Tour de France time trial in which he met his goals.

While Dennis can take comfort in bettering the time of Martin, the Australian explained he was looking to finish his year on a high.

"It is a bit of an average way to finish the season, but it's been an exceptional season," said Dennis who also won the Tour Down Under and USA Pro Challenge overall in 2015. "I can take a lot of confidence out of what I have achieved. Today would have been the cherry on the top if I could have pulled it off, but my result today doesn't take away from all that I've accomplished."

For the Australian men's road director Brad McGee, it was a promising display from Dennis and Orica-GreenEdge duo Michael Hepburn and Luke Durbridge who finished 15th and 20th respectively.

"There were some strong performances there, which was very encouraging especially from Michael Hepburn in 15th place and Luke Durbridge only 20 seconds behind," said McGee. "The put themselves in good company, and we will be looking on building on that for future campaigns."

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