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Dennis calls World Championships time trial defence 'biggest win' of career

Joe Robinson
25 Sep 2019

Australian dominates field to defend title after difficult season off the bike

Rohan Dennis labelled his time trial World Championships defence as the 'biggest win of my career' after a difficult season on and off the bike.

The Australian beat 19-year-old Remco Evenepoel by 1 minute 9 seconds across the 54km course in Harrogate in his first competitive race since mysteriously abandoning the Tour de France in July.

It was rumoured Dennis fell into dispute with his Bahrain-Merida team over the use of their bikes and kit, which forced the Australian to leave the Tour.

Dennis only returned to racing at tbhe Worlds, riding an unmarked BMC bike and Kask helmet. Crossing the line, Dennis celebrated by pointing towards his head, something he later explained was in reference to the mental battle he has faced since abandoning the Tour early this season.

'This is the biggest win of my career. It’s been tough but all the hard work and hard times have been worth it so I'm very happy,' said Dennis.

'A lot of work has been done off of the bike mentally and, really, it's a reminder that the issue wasn't just my body.'

Dennis also paid tribute to his sports psychologist David Spindler for the victory, lauding his work as the reason he was able to return to the top level. 

'It’s too hard to explain,' said Dennis. 'In very basics terms it took a lot of support to get me to believe and stop being so negative in my head and more positive about good things in my life.'

Crossing the line, Dennis had put 70 seconds into his closest rival Evenepoel. He also caught Hour Record holder Victor Campaenaerts and recent Vuelta a Espana winner Primoz Roglic out on the course.

While Dennis knew he was on a good day, he was unaware that his performance was so far ahead of the rest of the field.

'I thought I'd taken 10, maybe 20 seconds so I was really surprised to catch Campenaerts and Roglic,' explained Dennis.

'I saw Campenaerts had skin missing off the right hip, which explained that but catching Roglic was a real surprise, I expected to be pushed by him.'

As for his future, Dennis gave no clear answer but did state he is willing to bury this summer and continue towards securing his place as the world's best time trialist.