Tour de France Interview Series: 2x TdF Stage Winner Rohan Dennis
What does Rohan Dennis have to say about the BMC Racing Team’s performance to date at the Tour de France? How much does he really love time trialing? Can the team get Tejay van Garderen onto the podium? Read what this young, indispensable power machine from Australia has to say…
- Name: Rohan Dennis
- Tour de France starts: 2
- Years with the BMC Racing Team: 1
- Nationality: Australian
Did you feel confident that the team would win the team time trial before the stage?
You can never rule another team out. We knew Sky would be strong, that it would be a fast course and that they could go up hills as fast as us. I knew myself that it was going to be a fairly even playing field and if I was told we were down, I was going to have to lift it a little bit or do what it takes to get us across the line.
Do you prefer racing in a team time trial or an individual time trial?
Team time trial’s are a bit less stressful. In the individual time trial, its 100 percent myself. If I’m having an ‘off’ day in the team time trial, there’s hopefully someone there who will pick up. Like Sunday, I wasn’t feeling great, although my power meter might have said otherwise. It did feel like the other riders lifted (the tempo), and made me hurt more than usual. Which is why we probably won in the end. I’d say, stress-wise though, I prefer the team time trial.
What gives you the most satisfaction from winning and why?
Satisfaction is knowing that we are the best. Or knowing that all the work behind the scenes – like getting the equipment ready – has been worth it. I’ve even had my BMC timemachine TM01 driven down to Girona to test it out. It had new, integrated handlebars built by the guys at BMC in Grenchen, made especially for my position. That one little percent made a huge difference on the day. It’s always good to stand on the podium and know that all that hard work has paid off.
What do you think the key to success to winning a team time trial is?
Is it practice or the depth of talent in the team? Obviously you have to have the fly power – but not necessarily pure time trialists in the group. Confidence in your teammates goes a long way too – not trying to do it all yourself You see a lot of teams put pure time trialists, or a lot of strong riders, into their selection for the team time trial. You need guys with high power, a lot of speed. Sprinters are actually good at the team time trial. People question this… Confidence in your teammates goes a long way too – not trying to do it all yourself – everyone sharing the workload to a certain extent and no one trying to be a hero.
Did you know during the race that you were five seconds behind Team Sky with two kilometers to go?
I had no idea. I thought we were three seconds up on Tinkoff Saxo at the second checkpoint. But the crowd was quite loud. On the last climb, I hoped the directors weren’t telling us to slow down because we’d dropped someone as I couldn’t actually hear them. But to make sure they weren’t saying slow down, I had to keep looking back. It was a hard time trial – very controlled maximal effort. I’m glad I didn’t know Sky was five seconds up. We might have tried too hard and blown ourselves apart.
Is your BMC set up exactly the same for an individual time trial and a team time trial?
Yes, there is absolutely no difference.
What are your goals for the rest of the Tour de France?
To get Tejay on the podium in Paris, hopefully in the yellow jersey. The team’s goal at the start of the Tour was to be in the top three in Paris, along with stage wins and the yellow jersey. We’ve achieved two out of the three of our Tour de France goals now and we are really gunning for the top positionWe’ve achieved two out of the three of our Tour de France goals now and we are really gunning for the top position. To just be in the top three is the minimum!
They say that Tony Martin will still be the one to beat at world time trial championships. Do you think you can beat him again?
Tony Martin’s palamarès are better than mine. Being a three-time world champion, you could say that he is the favorite. But he was also a favorite in the first stage of the Tour this year in Utrecht. It is never impossible to beat someone – it boils down to whether or not it is your day.