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Rohan Dennis hoping to emulate Wiggins and Dumoulin at Grand Tours

Laura Scott
20 Dec 2017

Rohan Dennis looks to Bradley Wiggins and Tom Dumoulin for inspiration as he turns his attention to the 2018 Giro d'Italia

Rohan Dennis, who is about to enter the second of a four-year plan to develop into a Grand Tour cyclist, spoke at BMC Racing’s annual training camp in Denia Spain, about his ambitions for his career over the next few years, plus about what inspires him.

One thing that you immediately get from speaking to Dennis is that this is an ambitious rider with a clear plan. You get the impression you could ask him what he will be doing in five years, and he will have an answer for you.

In the immediate future, he plans to ride the 2018 Giro d'Italia for a high finish on the General Classification.

He is motivated and strong-willed, but then he needs to be if he is going to be successful at re-inventing himself as a Grand Tour rider.

Dennis is aware his weakness lies in the endurance required of a cyclist in a Grand Tour saying; 'To be able to put out that power that I can do in a TT in the fourth or fifth hour of a stage, I’ve got some work to do on that front.

'Weight is obviously a factor, but if you lose too much weight and you get sick, or you lose your power, then that’s an issue. The main thing is building up your strength, so your threshold doesn’t fade too much after four to five hours, but remains similar from the first hour to the fifth.

'That’s a big factor in becoming a GC rider for three weeks. You get tested in one-week races, but going into the third week is a different beast.'

He expanded on his and his team's plan to take him from a time trial specialist to a three-week race contender.

'This [2017] is one of four years that I’ve set out to target to become a GC rider, I keep saying that if it doesn’t work out after four years, then that’s fine, I’ll go back to what I know I’m really good at, time trialling and one-week week tours.

'Hopefully, I can pick up at least one, or more, world titles in the time trial, but once again, the GC, I don’t care what Grand Tour it is though as they are all special in some ways.'

Dennis had come into the 2017 Giro d'Italia with aspirations of a high overall place on GC, but those plans were ruined after a late crash on Stage 3.

While things didn’t go to plan, he took the opportunity to learn from Tom Dumoulin’s win at the first Grand Tour of the season.

'What inspired me in the Giro d’Italia in 2017 was not what I did or didn’t do, but how Dumoulin raced and how inspired it was.

'He raced physically and mentally, and he stayed positive no matter what happened in the stage.

'They lost Wilco Kelderman in stage 9 with the motorcycle. They all regrouped and worked it out. We can joke about it now, but the toilet incident… I thought he lost the Giro that day, but he didn’t it.

'He kept his head on and fought all by himself with no help.'

Reflecting on the obvious comparisons with other TT riders who have turned to Grand Tours, he added, 'We are similar riders, he’s tried to become a GC rider a couple of years before me. It gives me confidence.

'Wiggins, as well. A pure time trial rider who is able to be a Tour de France champion and World Champion time trialist. It’s possible for the type of rider I am to be good in the Grand Tours.'

Dennis will start his 2018 season in the Santos Tour Down Under taking place from 13th-21st January.