BMC Racing Team (United Arab Emirates) – Rohan Dennis proved that he was the fastest man against the clock at the Abu Dhabi Tour today, taking an impressive stage win on day four of the race and moving into the red leader's jersey.
With the course being completely flat, it was the perfect time trial for Dennis to show why he is known as one of the best time trialists in the world, and as he rolled off the ramp, he made his intentions clear.
The reigning Australian national time trial champion settled into his rhythm quickly, posting the provisional best time at the intermediate checkpoint before powering across the line in 14'21".
It was a nervous wait in the hot seat, but ultimately Dennis' impressive effort would see him secure both the stage victory as well as the red leader's jersey heading into the final day of racing and the summit finish on Jebel Hafeet tomorrow.
Miles Scotson also demonstrated his time trialling prowess during his 12.6km effort and was able to maintain his speed and power to stop the clock at 14'37" and take third place as well as the lead in the Best Young Rider Classification.
Brent Bookwalter and Patrick Bevin put in strong performances, crossing the line 17 seconds and 23 seconds behind Dennis to finish sixth and eighth respectively.
The Winner's Interview with Rohan Dennis:
Congratulations, Rohan. How are you feeling after today's victory?
"I felt pretty good today. It was a weird effort because although I never felt bad, I also never felt awesome. I felt strong, but it wasn't like I was absolutely on top of my game like I have been in previous time trials that are quite short. I was happy to come across the line and know that I had done a really good ride and then getting the win was a good little bonus."
"It is always good to win and to have two wins so far this season is nice. It is the same as what I had this time last year, but I still have one more stage to go here and hopefully I have three at the end of tomorrow. The overall win here would be absolutely awesome, and it would really top off my start to the season."
What was it like out on the course?
"It was hard to pace out there today and actually what I did power wise and how I executed it was pretty good for February. With the wind, it was quite tricky, but of course, I got the win so I can only be happy at the end of the day and I don't think there is anything I could be unhappy about with the way I rode."
Were you feeling confident coming into the race?
"I knew I was one of the favorites coming into today's race. I always put myself right up there when it comes to time trials. I was backing myself, but I knew that there were a lot of strong guys like Jos Van Emden (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), you can never rule him out. I can never say ahead of time that I am going to win any TT but when I say that inside I am really confident. There was no way I was going to say that though before today as I was unsure of where I was when it comes to a shorter effort."
And looking ahead to tomorrow's final stage.
"Tomorrow is definitely going to be more of a test for me. I know that my time trialling ability is as good as anyone's in the World on any given day, but my climbing is not as stable. Some days I am really good and other day's I'm not good so I have to see where I am at against the big GC riders who are here like Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Sky). There are a few guys who I can test myself against and see what I can improve on if anything at this time of the year."
Quotes From the Finish Line:
"We had four in the top ten at the finish, and I was able to sneak onto the podium and finish third, so overall myself and the team are pretty happy with the day. I think time trials that are a litle bit shorter still suit me a bit more at the moment and you could see that I lost a some time on Rohan. I think he took 15 seconds out of me in the last 5km or so but I was happy that I was able to hold on for third place."
"With Rohan now in this position, we will go into tomorrow's stage with 100% commitment to him because we want to chase that overall victory. That's what we are looking for, and I will try to give all the support I can to him."
Photo: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone