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by Shane Stokes
January 8, 2015
Ending up 7.1 seconds slower than Richie Porte in today’s Australian time trial national championships, BMC Racing team rider Rohan Dennis nevertheless remains optimistic that he can take the world hour record when he attacks it in exactly one month’s time.
“It was about a 52-minute effort today and my power levels were better than where they have been, so that is a good indication,” he said after the 40.9 kilometre event.
“I think with the road race on Sunday and then the Tour Down Under, it will take me to that next level where I need to be.”
Dennis was the quickest at the halfway point of the race, leading Jack Bobridge by 25 seconds and Porte by 32. However, according to BMC Racing Team sporting manager Allan Peiper, the lumpy return roads were to prove his undoing as far as the gold medal went.
“There was a main climb halfway through the course and coming back, they did it on the steep side,” he explained. “It was there that Rohan said he dug too deep and got into oxygen deficit, which he never really recovered from. In the last five kilometres he was struggling because of that effort.”
In contrast, he said that this section of the course played to Porte’s strengths, with the Sky rider being both smaller and lighter than his rival.
Dennis said that the lumpy parcours wore him down. “Probably with about ten kilometers to go, I started to really feel it,” he stated.
“My power was still good and I thought I had conserved enough energy, but probably not enough. I still believe I held it, power-wise, over the hills. It was just in between the hills where I was struggling.”
Being able to remain confident is important for Dennis, who will be fully aware that the hour record will likely be one of the toughest things he has done on the bike.
His bid will be made on February 8 in Grenchen, Switzerland. Bobridge, who finished 26.8 seconds back in third place, will also aim to take the hallowed record. His own attempt will come before that of Dennis, with the bid taking place in Melbourne’s DISC velodrome on January 31.
The record is currently held by Matthias Brandle, who surpassed Jens Voigt’s 51.115 kilometres on October 30 when he covered 51.850 kilometres at the UCI’s World Cycling Centre in Aigle.