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Rohan Dennis blasted to victory in the time trial at the Australian Road Championships Thursday, his second straight win at the event.
Dennis clocked a time of 50:59 on the 40.9-kilometer course, nearly a minute faster than Luke Durbridge (+58 seconds) and an additional 40 seconds ahead of Ben Dyball.
Dennis, who held the world hour record for just over two months in 2015, was the last off the start ramp in Buninyong as defending champion. His ride did not disappoint the crowds lining the route, and he went out hard in the first half of the race — despite finding himself 3 seconds behind Durbridge at the intermediate checkpoint.
The return trip of the out-and-back course was into a headwind, which Dennis said was difficult and taxing.
“The headwind was huge on the way back and it just kills you as you are fighting it the whole time,” Dennis said. “It was harder than last year and more like the conditions we had two years ago. The last 5km hurt a fair bit.”
Dennis said he lost a few pounds between last season and this season, which he helped him successfully defend his national title.
“I can take a lot of positives from today. I’m lighter than last year and basically put out the same power,” Dennis said. “I haven’t done a lot of time trial-specific training for the nationals so that’s a huge bonus.
“We’re moving towards going for GC so I still have to be good in time trials, so obviously I haven’t neglected that. There’s bigger goals than the Santos Tour Down Under but I’d like to be up around the mark in Adelaide and we’re there for Richie so I can be there to help him get the win.”
In the women’s race, Katrin Garfoot also grabbed her second consecutive victory — and did so by finishing 1:55 ahead of second-place Shara Gillow. Kate Perry took third, 3:14 behind the 35-year-old Garfoot.
“The pressure was on,” Garfoot said after winning on the 29.3km course. “Even though I try not to let it get to me, I was nervous and wondering if I could do it again because you never know where the others are at, at this stage of the year.”
“I pushed harder out than I wanted to on the way out and I knew I would pay for that on the way back. But as soon as I saw Shara and I knew I would catch her, I settled down a bit, reeled her in and I knew that mentally that would give me an advantage.”