Rohan Dennis has made no bones about the fact that he wants to win the Santos Tour Down Under for a second consecutive season and put himself in the history books. In an interview on Tuesday, the BMC rider said that he’s on winning form and that his BMC team’s advantage is that they have two cards to play with Richie Porte.
“To be honest, we have a good team,” said Dennis, who won the Australian time trial title on January 7. “At Nationals I’ve shown that I was going well, same as last year, if not a little bit better but there are still tactical parts of the race at the Tour Down Under that I can come unstuck and lose the race pretty quickly. I’ll have to stay on my toes and not do anything stupid each day. The form is there.”
BMC’s line-up at the Tour Down Under includes Porte, an overall contender in his own right, along with Floris Gerts, Marcus Burghardt, Alessandro De Marchi, Danilo Wyss and Peter Velits.
When asked if Dennis would share the overall classification responsibilities with Porte he said, “We have two bullets to fire. That is our greatest strength at the moment. A lot of other teams have one or possibly two. We’ve got Richie if I fail, and we’ll play our cards. Whoever wins, wins.”
Outside of his own BMC teammate Porte, Dennis sees Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas as the biggest threat to the overall. He also suggested that the other Australian riders in the peloton should not be discounted.
“Geraint is always fast,” Dennis said. “There’s Richie but he’s on my team, and there are always other guys – Australians in general, like Jack Bobridge, who was very strong at Nationals and he’s got great form at the moment, and Cameron Meyer and Nathan Haas.
“We’re fit at the moment and used to the heat because we’re from Australia and that is our biggest advantage. Generally an Australian will be in the top three, that’s for sure.”
Dennis said that the toughest part about racing the Tour Down Under are the crosswinds, which could derail his plans of defending his overall title.
He took some of the pressure off his shoulders by putting himself in the mix with a handful of other riders capable of winning the Tour Down Under. But the fact is, he’s in a special position to become the first rider to win back-to-back titles. Simon Gerrans has won the race three time (2006, 2012 and 2014) and Andre Greipel has won it twice (2008 and 2010).
“I’m not going to stand here and say that I’m the favourite,” Dennis said. “There are guys here on good form, maybe even better [than me]. I want to win, I want to make history but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”
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