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ORLÉANS, France (VN) – Rohan Dennis may only have spent a couple of seasons with Team Ineos, but it still seems odd to see the Australian in the yellow and black colors of the Jumbo-Visma team, who signed the two-time world time trial champion and former Tour de France yellow jersey over the winter. However, although the jersey is different, the 31-year-old has quickly shown the qualities that led to the Dutch team bringing him in and, soon after, naming him as one of their selection for this summer’s Tour de France.
On the opening day of Paris-Nice, Dennis played a key role in Jumbo’s forcing on the front of the peloton that led to the race splitting apart and, ultimately, in three of the team’s riders breaking away and sorting out the day’s honors between them. “I don’t think anybody expected that, not even us,” said the Australian of a show of power that ended with one of Jumbo’s other major signing, Christophe Laporte, leading Wout van Aert and Primož Roglič across the line.
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“The plan was to try and get Wout clear. Obviously, there was a small bunch and that it ended up being a very small bunch indeed – just the three of them!” he added.
Winner of his national time trial title in his first outing in Jumbo’s jersey in mid-January, Paris-Nice is Dennis’s first competitive outing with his new teammates. Roglič and van Aert have already said they’re impressed, and the Australian also says that he’s happy with what he’s seen of the Dutch team so far.
“It’s been really good, professional, easygoing,” he told VeloNews. “The team’s been very accommodating when it comes to with working with me and finding the best way possible to help me get my best results. So far so good.”
Jumbo have brought Dennis in to provide the kind of front-of-the-peloton powerhouse riding on all terrains for which he became renowned at Ineos, most memorably when supporting Tao Geoghegan Hart’s Giro d’Italia success in 2020. Their plan is to unleash him at the Tour, the title they crave above all and which has so far eluded them.
“Obviously the Tour de France is the big one,” Dennis confirmed. “The team will be there for Primož and hopefully we can take the yellow jersey all the way to Paris.”
The Australian’s personal objectives are the Commonwealth Games time trial, which are being held in the British city of Birmingham soon after Tour finishes, and, of course, the World Time Trial Championship at Wollongong in Dennis’s home country. “There’s still a lot of work to be done before then, but potentially winning the Worlds again would be a great way to finish the season.”
Asked whether he’s also thinking of the Tour’s opening time trail in Copenhagen and of the yellow jersey, which he wore in 2015 after winning that year’s prologue in Utrecht, Dennis acknowledged it had crossed his mind. “I’ve obviously always got that in the back of my mind. It’s a time trial start and that’s quite nice for me.
“But, at the same time, I’ve got to ask: is that the best preparation, for me to go all in? I’m still going to go all in on the day, but in terms of training and preparation we’ll see if that fits in with my job on the race.”