Dennis Wins Santos Tour Down Under; Evans Third25. January 2015 — Road Team
BMC Racing Team's Rohan Dennis won the Santos Tour Down Under Sunday while teammate Cadel Evans finished third in the final WorldTour race of his career. (©Tim De Waele/TDWsport)
Dennis secured a two-second victory over Richie Porte (Team Sky) while Evans was a further 18 seconds back in his second-to-last race before retirement. The all-Australian podium was only the second in the race's 17-year history.
"It is an incredible feeling to win the Santos Tour Down Under,” Dennis said. “Doing it with Cadel during his last WorldTour race took a lot of pressure off me. But I was not comfortable at all in this last stage."
Dennis said he had to stay vigilant during the 20-lap, 90-kilometer circuit race through the streets of Adelaide. But his only brush with danger in the stage won by Wouter Wippert (Drapac Professional Cycling) came when a pile-up happened behind him with fewer than two laps to go.
"I had to make sure I kept within distance of Richie, especially after that little spill," Dennis said. "It was all about following him and making sure there if there was a split, it was not too hard to jump across and making sure there were no splits in the finish."
Dennis seized the overall lead on Stage 3 Thursday, attacking in the final kilometer of an uphill finish. He kept his grip on it by finishing runner-up to Porte on Saturday's finish at Old Willunga Hill. Sunday, he hoisted his BMC teammachine SLR01 overhead on the podium to the cheers of the crowd before accepting the race leader's ochre jersey.
For Rohan, this is the beginning of a career.BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. "This is his first big win as a pro, and to have it be a WorldTour event says even more. He went against a real seasoned rider, Richie Porte, to fight the fight. That was a great sign for the future."
“We came here for Cadel. He tried, he got third; but Rohan was just better.”
Evans, runner-up to Simon Gerrans by one second here a year ago and 2011 Tour de France champion and 2009 world road champion, said he continues to surprise himself in the closing days of a professional road racing career that began in 2001.
"To go out on the podium – not quite at the top, top – I think puts me at No. 3 ranked in the world," Evans said. "To bow out of cycling at that level is probably a little bit more than I hoped. Most of all, I have been here as an optimal teammate and to pass on the baton to the next generation of riders and to bring Rohan here in the jersey and the lead."
Helping Dennis and Evans reach the podium were teammates Silvan Dillier, Michael Schär, Peter Stetina and Danilo Wyss. Another teammate, Campbell Flakemore, was lost to a broken collarbone suffered in a crash Wednesday on the ride back to the team's hotel after Stage 2.
Dennis has enjoyed a bevy of success since joining the BMC Racing Team last August in a rare, mid-season transfer. In September, he was third in the final time trial at the Vuelta a España, then helped the BMC Racing Team win the world team time trial championship in Ponferrada, Spain. He was runner-up to Porte earlier this month in the Australian national time trial championships and next month will try to better the world hour record at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland.
"The team rode awesomely again," Dennis said. "They sat at the front. They made sure I was out of the wind. Even when I got pushed back someone always dropped back to pull me back forward. They really helped me win this and made it a lot easier"
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