Mon, 21 Oct 2019

Australia's Dennis to defend time trial world title

15 Sep 2019, 16:13 GMT+10

Sydney - Rohan Dennis has confirmed he will defend his time trial crown at cycling's road race world championships in Britain after his abrupt withdrawal from the Tour de France mid-event.

The Australian, who won the 2018 title in Innsbruck, beating Dutch ace Tom Dumoulin, controversially threw in the towel at the start of the Peyresourde, the first of two climbs on the Tour de France's 12th stage in July.

It was reported that Dennis and his Bahrain Merida team had been having disagreements over his equipment and skinsuit, but this has not been confirmed and Dennis declined to say why he called it quits.

"What I did was pull out of a race, it's been blown out of proportion so much that people have slammed me for being everything under the sun," he told his local Adelaide Advertiser newspaper in his first comments since then.

"I've come off Twitter and haven't got into a slandering match because we have given other people the chance to try to sort this out in a mature way. I don't want to put any more fuel on the fire."

Dennis was supposed to be competing in the Vuelta a Espana which finishes Sunday but was pulled from the Bahrain Merida line-up before the race.

According to the newspaper, he will ride an unmarked bike complete with wheels and components supplied by the Australian national team when he defends his individual time trial title in Yorkshire.

"Physically I'm still as good as I was last year and my power profile test that I did two weeks ago was the best numbers I've done ever," said Dennis, a time trial specialist who has worn the leader's jersey at all three Grand Tours.

"Mentally I have days where it's hard but I believe I can still win (in Yorkshire).

"It's more of a mental battle because all I've got is training, I don't have any racing to push me where I would have had goals to target stages and what not at the Vuelta.

"That would have been the perfect preparation."

The 2019 UCI road world championships begin in Harrogate on September 22.

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