South Australia’s Rohan Dennis time trialed to sixth in the elite men’s time trial at the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“I didn’t have it today,” said Dennis, who was aiming for the podium. “My power was 30 watts less than what I did on Sunday [in team time trial]. It’s been a long season.”
The former Tour de France yellow jersey wearer was the third to last rider to race from the 66 starters. He looked strong and steady over the 40-kilometre course, posting the fifth fastest time as he rode through the first intermediate check after 13.6 kilometres.
By the second check point, Dennis was fourth fastest, 35-seconds behind the winning pace set by Tony Martin (Germany). He stopped the clock in 46 minutes and 10.11 seconds for fifth place across the line, sixth place by race end, equalling his result from Richmond a year ago.
“You don’t go into a time trial expecting any result in particular,” said National Elite Men’s Road Director Brad McGee. “You go in totally focused on the process and the obstacles and challenges at hand. There are plenty of things to be focused on there without worrying about the outcome.
“That said, we know if we put it all together, we could be legitimately on the podium if not winning this thing based on Rohan’s progression over the last 18-24 months,” added McGee.
“But it just wasn’t to be. From speaking to Rohan briefly, it was obvious from his analysis of his performance that he was missing that final 10% of his power. That was all that was missing. His delivery, his line, his pacing, it was all spot-on. He was missing that final cog down.”
Dennis has had a longer than usual campaign beginning with a win at the National Road Championships in Australia in January and building up to a fifth place in the 2016 Rio Olympic individual time trial.
“It doesn’t take much of searching to realise that this result is the product of coming off the back of a long and arduous season, a huge campaign in Rio,” said McGee.
“Rohan carried his from into the following races in Eneco but evidently he hasn’t been able to hold onto that wonderful form to Worlds.
“It’s unfortunate,” McGee admitted. “It’s disappointing but we can accept it of course. We understand, but it doesn’t make it any easier. He and we will go home disappointed tonight.
“I would like to congratulate our new world champion Tony Martin,” McGee added. “He’s an artist on the time trial bike, and it’s lovely to see a bloke back at the top of his race craft.”
Luke Durbridge gave Australia a second finisher in the top third of the field. The Western Australian managed 18th place, 2 minutes and 28 seconds off the winning time.
“We saw some encouraging signs from Luke that were not necessarily reflected in the overall results,” said McGee.
“He demonstrated a steady platform to work from in the future for a return to his full time trialing potential. We’re looking forward to Luke bringing his passion to the road race group on Sunday.”
Durbridge joins Mat Hayman (ACT), Heinrich Haussler (NSW), Mark Renshaw (NSW), Mitch Docker (VIC), Zak Dempster (VIC), Steele von Hoff (VIC), Caleb Ewan (NSW) and Michael Matthews (ACT) in Sunday’s 257.3km road race. Read National Elite Men’s Road Director Bradley McGee’s preview here.
Elite Men’s Time Trial
Gold – Tony Martin (GER) 44:42.99
Silver – Vasil Kiryienka (BLR) +45.05
Bronze – Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP) +1:10.91
6th – Rohan Dennis +1:27.12
18th – Luke Durbridge +2:28.34
Photos © Graham Watson