INNSBRUCK: Rohan Dennis beat favourite and defending champion Tom Dumoulin at the world championships individual time trial on Wednesday, the Australian lifting his bike aloft in triumph at the finish line.
Dennis completed the 52.1-kilometre course in one hour, three minutes, and two seconds, with Dutchman Dumoulin one minute and 21 secconds behind in a race widely billed as a duel between the two. The bronze medal went to Victor Campenaerts, of Belgium, who was just a fraction of a second adrift of the silver medal.
Dennis, who has won time trials and worn the leader’s jersey at all three Grand Tours, said earning the right to wear the world champion’s rainbow jersey for a year was a dream come true.
“I have been targeting this since I was a junior and it’s absolutely amazing, a dream come true,” he said.
“I wanted to make some kind of salute on the finish line but I wasn’t sure even though everyone was telling me I’d won, I wanted it to be completely sure,” he said of the wait for Dumoulin to cross the line.
But he also said he knew he had a good chance from 20 kilometres out.
“At the hill, Brad McGee was coaching me,” said Dennis of the tough five-kilometre climb at the 30-kilometre mark which was his major challenge.
“He was mainly trying to keep me calm because I was so nervous about the climb,” he admitted of the coaching he got from former professional McGee over the team radio from the car behind him.
“And as soon as I got to the top I knew I could get a time at the very least as fast as he (Dumoulin) did.”
“I’m not that surprised because I knew he had pushed hard in the team time-trial by riding a lot at the front,” said the BMC rider.
Adelaide native Dennis, a former holder of the hour record, has won the Australian national individual time trial championship for the past three years.
Dumoulin, who won the Giro d’Italia in 2017 before claiming worlds time trial victory for the first time, looked ashen at the finish, but was smiling again by the time he got to the podium and warmly congratulated the winner.
The 27-year-old Dutchman has now finished runner-up in three major events this season having also finished second to Sky’s Chris Froome at the Giro and to another Briton, Sky’s Geraint Thomas, at the Tour de France.