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World time trial champion Rohan Dennis has signed with Ineos, the team has confirmed. The move ends months of speculation about the future for the Australian, following a tumultuous second half of the 2019 season.
Dennis’s contract with Bahrain-Merida was cancelled on the eve of the Road World Championships in September, following the 29-year-old’s much-publicized mid-race departure from the Tour de France in July. Dennis went on to win a second-straight world time trial title at the Yorkshire Worlds but his career has seemingly been in limbo since then.
Over the weekend eagle-eyed viewers noticed that Dennis had “liked” a photo on the Instagram account belonging to Pinarello, the bike sponsor of Team Ineos. The Adelaide Advertiser reported his signing with the team on Monday in Australia, and several hours after the report, the team made the official announcement that Dennis had signed a two-year contract to join the squad.
“There’s always things I can improve on and that’s why I’ve obviously picked Ineos because they’re also willing to push me,” Dennis said in a video from the team. “I like to push the teams I’m in to try to improve every little thing possible, without going too crazy, because sometimes you can go a little bit too over the top.”
Dennis’ signing adds further firepower to a squad that already includes four Grand Tour winners (Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, and Richard Carapaz), a road world champion (Michal Kwiatkowski), and two of the sport’s biggest up-and comers (Pavel Sivakov and Ivan Sosa).
“Personally the Olympics is my biggest goal for 2020. I had a bit of an unfortunate event in Rio which stopped me from medalling,” Dennis said, referencing the broken handlebar that derailed his race in the time trial at the 2016 Olympics. “I want to prove that I should I have been on that podium, but not just a silver or bronze, I want that gold medal.”
Dennis also pointed next year’s Giro as an objective.
“In the past the Giro wouldn’t have excited me too much but fortunately this year, unusually as well, there’s a grand Tour with three time trials, which is perfect for me being a time trial specialist,” he said.
“I can really go there and try to nail those while trying to work for whoever our GC rider is as well, which is exciting, knowing that this time is so exciting when it comes to the GC leaders in Grand Tours and knowing that we have a really strong chance of finishing off and being on the podium and a more or less high chance of being on that top step when it comes to Milan.”
Dennis is expected to begin his 2020 season at the Australian Road National Championships as he has done every year since turning professional. He’ll start the time trial as the big favorite to win his fourth national title.