Dennis leads Garmin at Tour Down Under with Slagter set to miss the race

Rohan Dennis has been handed the leadership of Garmin-Sharp for next month's Tour Down Under after it was confirmed that last year’s winner Tom Jelte Slagter would miss the race due to the birth of his first child.

Slagter won the 2013 edition of the event while racing for Team Blanco. He confirmed this summer that he would leave the team – which later became Belkin – for Garmin at the start of 2014. He was scheduled to try and defend his title in Australia but the birth of his child coincides with the race.

The vacancy means that Rohan Dennis, who already confirmed to Cyclingnews last month that he would be willing to lead the team, will be the sole leader for the American outfit.

"Tom will not be going because his wife is due to give birth towards the end of January," Garmin boss Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

"Rohan really wants to try and win it and he's from Adelaide. I think he can win the race and this way we have one leader."

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