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Dennis looking for form at Tour de Yorkshire

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Rohan Dennis was the best South Australian rider in the race

Rohan Dennis was the best South Australian rider in the race (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans shadows race leader Rohan Dennis on the morning of stage 4

Cadel Evans shadows race leader Rohan Dennis on the morning of stage 4 (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/
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Defending champion Rohan Dennis on the start line

Defending champion Rohan Dennis on the start line
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Rohan Dennis (BMC)

Rohan Dennis (BMC) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

Rohan Dennis’ stop-start season has got back under way at the Tour de Yorkshire. Forced to miss Paris-Nice due to sinusitis and then to abandon the Volta a Catalunya as the result of a virus, the BMC Racing rider took to the Tour de Yorkshire stage 1 start in Beverley hoping to complete only his second stage race of the season after January’s Tour Down Under.

“Touch wood, my health is really good right now and there’s no sign of the sickness I had returning,” the Australian told Cyclingnews. “As for Yorkshire, I feel good in training, but when it comes to the racing I don’t know what to expect as I haven’t raced properly since the Tour Down Under.

“To be honest, the odd one-day here or there is not really racing in my eyes. So we’ll see how it goes. I could be good, but I could be absolutely terrible. I’ll find out on the first stage, and even more so on the final stage, which is the real climbing day.”

Dennis confirmed that he is likely to stick pretty much to the programme that was laid out for him coming into the season. “There’s no changes to it right up to Rio really,” he confirmed. “We’ve stuck to the original plan, so right after this I go to the Tour of California and then to the Dauphiné, where I’ll hopefully earn a spot in the Tour to prepare for Rio, which is the big goal this year.”

Winner of the Tour’s race-opening time trial in Utrecht last year, Dennis said he will work for BMC’s leaders in France this July and is happy to do so because his focus is on Olympic glory. “The Olympics only happen every four years, so that makes winning an Olympic medal a little bit more prestigious.

“Obviously winning the Tour de France or any Grand Tour is harder, but they take place every year and it’s not on the cards for me for this year, so if I go to the Tour this year it will be for Tejay [van Garderen] and Richie [Porte], and also to prepare for the Olympics.”

Dennis did concede, though, that he will have an eye on the Tour’s time trials. “They will be on the list of stages I’d like to have a crack at, and I think they could be quite good for me. One of them is quite hilly, but the other one is just rolling. They’ll be a nice little bit of prep for Rio,” he said.

Dennis said he hasn’t seen the Olympic TT course yet, but has got video of it. “I’m not going to go and look at it until, firstly, I get a spot on the team. If I manage that, I’ll probably go there a week before the time trial. It’s 50-odd kilometres, and I can memorise 50k if I go over it twice, with no problem at all,” said Dennis.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).