Dennis Wins Tour Opener At Record Speed4. July 2015, Utrecht (NED) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team's Rohan Dennis piloted his BMC timemachine TM01 to the fastest average speed in Tour de France history in winning Saturday's opening stage individual time trial.
Dennis averaged 55.45 kilometers an hour over the 13.8-km course through the streets of Utrecht, The Netherlands, to take the win by five seconds and earn the first yellow jersey of the three-week race. His average speed surpassed the previous Tour de France record mark set by Chris Boardman 21 years ago.
As the 38th of 198 riders to start, Dennis was in the "hot seat" for more than two-and-a-half-hours.
"It was nerve-wracking watching the screen," Dennis said. "I didn't expect to go that fast time-wise. When I got to back to the bus, I was told that it was the quickest time trial by my friend back in Adelaide. So that was a nice little bonus, you could say."
One-by-one, some of the world's top time trialists took their best shot at the former world hour record holder's time of 14:56.
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin), one of the hometown favorites, arrived eight seconds slower to place fourth. Past multi-time world time trial champion Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) was five seconds slower and finished runner-up. And the 15th-to-last rider to start, multi-time world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara, was six seconds off the pace for third place.
"We went with the tactic of going off early – there's no stress, you don't have to sit around all day – just set a benchmark and make everyone else chase me," Dennis said. "It worked out perfectly. Tour de France … yellow jersey … it's a dream. I have always wished to be in this position and now I am."
BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said the accomplishment, which comes on the day the U.S.-registered team was celebrating Independence Day, was "almost unbelievable."
"We are extremely excited and proud of Rohan's performance today," Ochowicz said. "It is a dream because we planned this for so long and put so many man hours into the preparation. I was convinced that his performance would be at such a level that it would have taken somebody very, very good to beat him today. And it didn't happen."
Dennis's teammate, Tejay van Garderen, finished 20th, 42 seconds behind, as his fifth career Tour de France got underway.
Dennis becomes the first rider from the BMC Racing Team to wear the leader's yellow jersey at the Tour de France since Cadel Evans won the race in 2011 … He is the seventh Australian to hold the lead at the Tour de France, on a list that also includes Evans … Saturday's victory was his third of the season, adding to a stage win and the overall title at the Santos Tour Down Under in January. He was also a part of the BMC Racing Team's win in the team time trial last month at the Critérium du Dauphiné, a result that propelled him into the lead at that race … Ochowicz was also the general manager of the American 7-Eleven team in 1986 that took the yellow jersey (with Alex Stieda) after that year's opening stage of the Tour de France.
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