Dennis talks Tour departure and team change

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Rohan Dennis shed some light on his stunning departure from this year’s Tour de France and talked about his change of teams on the Watts Occurring podcast of Ineos’s Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe.

The reigning world time trial champion, who was let go by Bahrain-Merida in September, is now teammates with Thomas and Rowe after having signed a two-year deal to join Ineos.

The pair wasted little time in asking Dennis about his decision to pull out of the Tour, to which he responded, “In the end it wasn’t good for me to be there for my family. I was struggling mentally and in the end it was affecting home life and it was only going to get worse so I decided what’s best for my family and jogged on.”

Following his Tour de France DNF, Dennis did not race again for the Bahrain team, but he revealed on the podcast that he had initially expected to make another Grand Tour start.

“I wanted to race, I was planning to race the Vuelta,” he said. “Then all of the sudden, obviously, I wasn’t racing.”

Dennis said that he made the mistake of reading things that others were saying about him during his time away from racing, which did not help his situation.

Rohan Dennis rides to his second consecutive world time trial title. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2019

“It was a bit of a mental battle. I probably read into all of the shit online too much. I wanted to know what was going on, where I stood in the cycling community a little bit,” he said.

“I couldn’t fight back because it was all about just keeping quiet. We agreed on being quiet and letting it sort out behind close doors but a few things got out due to sources close to myself.”

After his Bahrain-Merida contract was terminated, for the next few months Dennis was linked to several teams, Ineos included. He noted that talks with the British WorldTour squad picked up in October, but that nothing was official until December.

“In the end this was the best fit,” he said.

“It’s the place that I think will be able to support my Olympic and time trial aspirations, but also, just in general, the team here seems and always has seemed in the media, focused on attention to detail.”

To the fascination of Thomas and Rowe, Dennis expounded on the subject of his own attention to detail, noting his preoccupation with multiples of five.

“I’m pedaling, say it’s a bridge just to make it easy, and I get to the end of the bridge and I’m going to have like nine instead of 10 [pedal strokes]. Change the gear. Make it a quicker cadence,” he said, responding that it applied even in a race, “like the whole day.”

Next spring, Dennis is expected to be part of Ineos’s squad at the Giro d’Italia, which features three individual time trials. From there, his major focus will be on the Tokyo Olympics and then world championships, where he will try to score a third straight rainbow jersey in the TT.

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