The last time trial Rohan Dennis rode in the Netherlands prior to his stage 2 victory at the Eneco Tour was stage 1 of last year's Tour de France which he blasted in record time to take the win and yellow leader's jersey. The 26-year-old BMC rider once again had a stressful wait in the hot set before his victory was confirmed with LottoNL-Jumbo's Jos van Emden the closest challenger at five seconds.
Dennis' fourth victory of the season saw him jump from 144th into the overall lead with van Emden at five seconds and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) at 13 seconds.
"From what I saw from my side, it was as close to perfection in a time trial. I took all the risks and kind of crossed my fingers ever time I went through a corner. But it worked out. Today was as quick as I could go," Dennis said of his win, his third against the clock in 2016.
"It's always good to get a result against guys like Tony Martin, Tom Dumoulin ... Obviously he's from here so he has a lot of motivation to perform whenever he's at home. For the day, it was probably my best time trial execution I've ever done so I am pretty happy about it."
While there are five challenging stages to come, including a team time trial, Dennis is well positioned for a tilt at the overall, explaining BMC are backing him and Greg Van Avermaet.
"It's great to win a stage and even better to take the lead," said Dennis after taking the fourth WorldTour leader's jersey of his career having previously done so at the Tour de France, Criterium du Dauphine, and Tour Down Under.
"It's going to put pressure on the team to perform every day but we're here to win with either myself or Greg Van Avermaet. The team time trial will be another big day for the GC, so it's just about making sure we all stay up front and don't lose time each day. I think the Limburg stage and the final stage are also big concerns for the GC."
Having finished second overall at the Tour of Britain last week, where he won stage 7b, Dennis has shown he is form with an Eneco Tour podium result well within reach.
Along with taking the win and leader's jersey, Dennis also put down a marker ahead of next month's World Championships where he is targeting the time trial. Fifth at the 2014 Worlds, Dennis suffered a puncture at last year's Worlds to rule him out of medal contention while a broken handlebar at the Rio Olympic Games also saw his medal hopes dashed. He is hoping his performance in Breda is a sign of things to come ahead of the 40km TT on October 12.
"Today's performance was good for confidence when it comes to Qatar. I was a little bit worried before coming here," he said. "I thought that maybe because I've lost weight since Rio, maybe I've lost that raw power that I had when I was a couple of kilograms heavier. It's flat, there's corners here in the time trial and it was all about who had the most power today so that's a good indication for Qatar, considering that's going to be 100% flat."
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