BMC Racing Team (Italy) – Rohan Dennis proved once again that he was the man to beat in San Benedetto del Tronto by winning his second consecutive Tirreno-Adriatico time trial while Damiano Caruso dug deep to secure second overall on the General Classification.
Dennis flew off the ramp and settled into his rhythm quickly to post the provisional best time at the intermediate checkpoint before powering over the second half of the 10.05km out and back course, with an average speed of 53.412km/h.
The current Australian national time trial champion posted a strong early benchmark of 11'14" and after a long wait in the hot seat, this was more than enough to take the win for the second consecutive year.
Meanwhile, there was an exciting battle for the General Classification brewing with just three seconds separating Caruso and Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) at the start of the day and less than thirty seconds separating the top four riders.
Caruso was the second to last rider to roll off the ramp and his determination was evident with the Italian rider digging deep over every inch of the road before stopping the clock at 11'55".
After a short wait, Kwiatkowski came across the line in a time of 11'34" which saw him secure the overall victory. While Caruso, who has been consistently strong over the whole week of racing, held on to take second place ahead of Kwiatkowski's Team Sky teammate Geraint Thomas.
The Winner's Interview with Rohan Dennis:
Rohan, congratulations! How does it feel to win the final time trial two years in a row?
"I'm really happy. I woke up today and wasn't feeling so good so to be going faster [than last year] today is a positive thing. I'm happy with my ride. It hasn't been the best week for me. I couldn't repeat what I did last year or improve in the climbs and on the General Classification, but I think today was quite good. It gave me a bit more confidence in what I am doing. Pacing was the most important thing. It's shorter on the way back but it's harder."
Did you think you would be able to beat your time from 2017?
"To be honest I was nervous about it. I was looking at the best times on this course and thinking 'ok what do I need to aim for?'. I knew I needed to try and go faster than last year to win and I was right because Jos Van Emden (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) did the same time that I did last year. So, if I hadn't beaten my time he would have won. I'm just happy I won today. It is a good confidence boost going forward."
How would you sum up the past week at Tirreno-Adriatico?
"It has been a great week. We won the first stage with the team time trial and that was a hard one as well, it was very close. Then it was all teamwork and really working around Damiano Caruso and trying to make sure he had the best possible chance to win the race. Unfortunately, we didn't get the win but he was exceptional this week making sure he didn't lose too much time on the big mountain stage and those two long stages were super hard so hats off to him for second overall."
Damiano Caruso on the final podium. © Sirotti.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
"I think this was a really good result for me. Everyone knows my story of this week and how the race went. I am really happy because it is a good result for me and a good result for the team. Now we can see for the next races but I am more confident. I know that Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) is a really strong guy. This morning I knew it would be difficult to beat him today but I tried to do my best and at the end, it is still a nice result. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) is a really good rider so I am happy to keep the second place overall after the time trial."
Sports Director, Maximilian Sciandri:
"It was a really good performance from Rohan today. This is a race he knew well. He won here last year and I think it really shows the depth of his time trialling ability and the quality of the rider that he is to be able to win here for a second consecutive year."
"Overall, this has been a great week for us. The guys have all been fantastic and it all started with winning the opening team time trial. We obviously won the leader's jersey on the first day. We were then able to keep it after stage 2 and then take it back on the mountaintop finish."
"I think Damiano has really stepped up as a GC rider. He came into today's final stage just three seconds back and I think that shows that is has been a very successful Tirreno-Adriatico for us. We have seen that Damiano is really maturing as a rider and I think he can take a lot of confidence out of this week. He has shown that he can be up there with some of the best GC riders out there."