Rohan Dennis is almost a definite non-started for Tour Down Under after team doctors diagnosed with a virus. Dennis was set for his official Garmin Sharp debut in Sunday evening's People Choice Classic criterium but will now miss the event.
Dennis was excited about making a return to Tour Down Under after finishing 5th overall in 2012 and also taking out the Best Young Rider and King of the Mountains classification. This time around Dennis would not be riding for the UniSA Australian National Team and would instead be making his first professional appearance for the squad run by Jonathan Vaughters.
"There's a 99% chance that I will have to pull out," Dennis told Cyclingnews just hours before the start of the People's Choice Classic.
"I got word from the doctor last night that I have a viral infection. He said if I do start it's unlikely I'll make the week and I will probably come out worse than when I entered.
"I still have to talk to the doctor and get his point of view today but I think I just have to look forward to the rest of the year. I can't get too hung up about Tour Down Under even though I was targeting the race. It's only one race I it'll be here next year I guess.
"It depends on how I improve overnight but at this stage, with how I'm feeling, I don't think it's a possibility."
With a big season in store for Dennis he had already decided to sit out the warm-up 51km criterium. The first-year professional was already scheduled for a reasonable break from racing following Down Under and this will likely remain unchanged. His next, or rather first race of the year should be Paris-Nice.
"I wasn't racing for another month or so and I don't think that will change. If I recover from this and look after myself and don't race I think I'll bounce back and be able to prepare just as well.
"It's possibly going to be Paris-Nice but it's still not confirmed. The team will confirm it closer to the race but I've been put down as a possibility for that race.
"If I do this [Tour Down Under] it's a possibility that I might not be able to scratch myself for a while."
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