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Rohan Dennis reveals scrape with eating disorder in difficult 2019

Australian considered 'Grand Tour project' but struggled with weight issue

Joe Robinson
7 Jan 2020

Rohan Dennis has divulged more about his challenging 2019 season, revealing his close call with eating disorders in order to lose weight to become a Grand Tour contender.

A world-class time trial specialist, the question was often asked of Dennis whether he would follow in the footsteps of riders such as Bradley Wiggins and Tom Dumoulin in developing into a Grand Tour General Classification rider.

Finishing alongside Egan Bernal on the Queen Stage of the Tour de Suisse last year, ensuring second overall, furthered the idea he could potentially transform into a Grand Tour rider.

However, the Australian has now revealed to the Adelaide Advertiser that these ambitions came with their own issues, such as developing an eating 'disorder'.

'Last year I was thinking "you know what? It’s probably something that physically I can do - be a Grand Tour rider - and I have the capabilities",' Dennis told the Advertiser.

'But I just don’t know if I want to go down the road, and I’ll be honest with you, I started to eat and not eat and was on that slippery slope of a complex or disorder.

'It got to a point where I was putting on weight, I would have one beer but then feel guilty and wouldn’t eat at training the next day, so then I couldn’t train properly, I wouldn’t do a good session, eat minimal and bonk again. Then you think you’re shit, you feel down and you keep going.'

He then added that he had to start taking protein shakes ahead of the Worlds in Yorkshire due to being 68kg as opposed to his 71kg race weight, something he attributed to stress.

It was all part of a difficult year for Dennis that eventually saw his contract with former team Bahrain-Merida mutually terminated after he abandoned the Tour de France, mid-race, under mysterious circumstances.

Dennis then withdrew from social media in light of the mental stress faced after the Tour, working with sports psychologist David Spindler to get back in shape for the World Championships at the end of the season.

He ultimately did resurrect his season by defending his World Championships time trial title in emphatic style, earning a contract with Team Ineos.

Instead of chasing General Classification ambitions, Dennis will remain focused on perfecting his time trialling talent, underlining the three Giro d'Italia time trials and Tokyo Olympics Games as his big ambitions for 2020.

After that, it is likely an Ineos-backed Hour Record will be in the pipeline, akin to the brand's similar projects in a different sport.

And as for the Grand Tour ambitions and emulating the team's first winner at that stage, Wiggins, those have been firmly pushed to the back of his mind.

'I pulled the reins on that a fair bit earlier last year, it’s not worth having a disorder,' said Dennis. 'I am not someone who is naturally really skinny. I’m not a big guy either but I do put on weight fairly quickly when it comes to cycling and bulk up quite easily compared to guys like [Egan] Bernal and these pure climbers.

'I’m not sure if it’s really worth going through the stress of trying to match that. I’m more comfortable with still having a life off the bike and being the best in the world at something.'