Digital Swiss 5: Rohan Dennis wins stage 1

TAVIRA PORTUGAL FEBRUARY 21 Start Rohan Dennis of Australia and Team INEOS Faro Village during the 46th Volta ao Algarve 2020 Stage 3 a 2019Km stage from Faro to Tavira VAlgarve2020 on February 21 2020 in Tavira Portugal Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Rohan Dennis (Team Ineos) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Rohan Dennis (Team Ineos) carried his strong virtual racing form from the Ineos Alpe du Zwift race to triumph at race 1 of the Digital Swiss 5. The Australian dominated the mountainous 26.6km course, beating second-place man Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) by 1:10. James Whelan (EF Pro Cycling) rounded out the podium at 1:28.

Mathias Frank (AG2R La Mondiale) was the race's first casualty, failing to start after suffering an apparent mechanical or digital problem. 

Australian duo Whelan and Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) got away from the peloton early on, putting in an effort in the vicinity of 7w/kg as they hit the early slopes of the race's first climb. With no drafting simulation on Rouvy it was every man for himself out on course.

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Dennis and his Ineos teammate Cameron Wurf moved away from the peloton 6km in, making it four Australians at the head of the race. Dennis would soon move his way into the lead, passing Whelan 10km into the effort as Durbridge and Wurf fell back. Further back, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was making a move up to fifth place.

Dennis was timed at 28:17 over the top of the first climb, leading Whelan by 21 seconds. Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) had jumped up to third, 35 seconds down, with Evenepoel the only other man within a minute, 56 seconds back.

Dennis' lead stretched out to 39 seconds after the descent, with his time trialing experience clearly paying off in measuring his effort. At the first checkpoint of the race's final climb, he had moved to 55 seconds clear as Roche closed in on Whelan.

Evenepoel had lost some time however, drifting to seventh place almost two minutes down.

Roche moved definitely into second place later on the climb, but it was too late to try and catch Dennis, who continued on to victory in virtual Leukerbad.

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Brief results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rohan Dennis (Aus) Team Ineos 0:53:07
2Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb 0:01:10
3James Whelan (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 0:01:28
4Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:01:39
5Ben O'Connor (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling 0:02:04
6Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:02:17
7Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:02:37
8Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:14
9Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Pro Cycling 0:03:15
10Cameron Wurf (Aus) Team Ineos 0:03:35
11Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren 0:03:49
12Michael Schär (Sui) CCC Team 0:03:57
13Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:04:34

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