Former pro Bradley McGee – now Cycling Australia's road technical director and national team selector – called Rohan Dennis' performance to win the elite men's individual time trial title at the World Championships on Wednesday a "near-perfect ride".
"There's great competition there between Rohan and Tom, but Rohan's out there racing Rohan more than he's racing anyone else," McGee told Cyclingnews.
"Of course, we had our eye on Dumoulin as the biggest threat, and we had some time checks [comparing the two riders], but not a lot. It wasn't a big part of our game plan. Rohan just went out and delivered exactly the race plan he'd set out. It was wonderful.
"It was one of those days when someone's just put together the near-perfect ride – not just on the day, but the whole preparation and planning," continued McGee. "And Rohan's delivered it. It's just wonderful to be part of – to witness it."
McGee played down his own part in Dennis' triumph, despite being in the Cycling Australia car behind Dennis, encouraging his rider to victory.
"I only played a small part," he told Cyclingnews. "It's a big team, and there are a lot of people in Rohan's corner, but then there's a smaller group of key people, who combined really well. Everyone just knows their role and gets on with it."
Dennis' time trial rainbow jersey seems to have been a long time coming – four years in Dennis' eyes – but everything came together on Wednesday to deliver the prize that Dennis and Cycling Australia had been waiting for.
"We've had some f*ck-ups, and a lot of bad luck," McGee admitted, referring to Dennis' broken handlebars at the Rio Olympics time trial, and last year's Worlds time trial, when Dennis crashed and broke his rear derailleur. "But Rohan's just never given up, he's never lost faith, and he knows he's getting better. He's still got more to go."
Equipment issues and luck aside, maturity, too, has played a big factor in Dennis' journey to becoming world champion.
"100 per cent," McGee said. "Both as an athlete and as a bloke."
As to whether Dennis' win slightly takes the pressure off the Australian camp ahead of Sunday's men's road race, McGee said it made little difference, and that Dennis would be ready to help his teammates to the best of his ability.
"We're always hungry," McGee said of going for the next win. "And Rohan will play a supportive role in Sunday's race. He's keen to get in there and help the boys. He'll probably get an early shower in, though."
The Australian team will start Sunday's road race with a full complement of eight riders, including recent Vuelta a España stage winner Simon Clarke (EF-Drapac) and Mitchelton-Scott's Jack Haig, but with the controversial omission of form-rider Michael Matthews, who looked set for a reprieve after Australian hope Richie Porte pulled out of the road race with sickness – but was replaced by Caja Rural's Nick Schultz, rather than Matthews.
"We made those decisions a long time ago. We're coming here with the best team for the job on the day," said McGee.
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