BMC Racing sports director Yvon Ledanois mentioned Dennis and Daniel Oss as “sure” riders to support Tejay van Garderen in his maillot jaune bid at the 102nd edition, which opens with a 13.8km time trial on 4 July.
“I think the first day is perfect for Rohan Dennis,” Ledanois said. “It’s one big opportunity and he’s very motivated for the big races.”
The 25-year-old Australian is considered a young specialist in the race against the clock and has been tipped as an asset to BMC’s Tour campaign, especially in the first 10 days that also includes a 28km team time trial.
The squad will look to employ various specialists in that period, which has been described by more than one general classification outfit as pivotal to overall race aims with cobbles, time bonuses and crosswinds factored in.
“(Manager) Jim Ochowicz and all sports directors will look to take the best team because objective No.1 is GC with Tejay, but also stages,” Ledanois said. “We have a lot of specialists, a lot of big, big riders, but we will make a decision this week for the Tour de France. For the moment we have four to five riders sure but we need to talk between sports directors and managers for the last decision.”
Dennis left Garmin-Sharp for BMC via a rarely employed August transfer last year that has proved hugely successful. The Australian raced at the Vuelta a Espana for the first time in September, scoring a top 20 result in the mountain classification, and has added a UCI trade team time trial world championship, Tour Down Under title, UCI Hour Record and a stint in the leader’s jersey at the Criterium du Dauphine to his name since then.
Dennis showed he can work well with van Garderen at the Dauphine this month where the pair swapped the yellow leader’s jersey before Chris Froome (Sky) snatched it from the shoulders of the latter on the last day.
Van Garderen did not have the measure of 2013 Tour champion Froome in the mountains but he and Ledanois, who has worked with the American throughout the year, nonetheless took confidence from the overall performance.
The 26-year-old succeeded Cadel Evans as BMC’s Tour de France title leader last year finishing fifth overall.
“It’s a big experience,” Ledanois said.
“The Dauphine was the first time he took the jersey in a big race in the WorldTour. The Dauphine is not the Tour de France, but it’s a small Tour de France – same organiser, more or less the same riders so for this reason he takes a lot of confidence.
“Last year, for me, (at the Tour) he wasn’t ready. Now I think he’s ready.
“He has the legs for the podium this year.”
BMC are the reigning trade team trial world champions and have honoured the title this season. A strong ride in the discipline at the Tour could give van Garderen an advantageous buffer before the first rest day and then the Pyrenees.
“If he doesn’t take the jersey on the team time trial, maybe he does one day after that. He knows the first stage in the Pyrenees and he knows the final,” Ledanois said.
Dennis made his Tour debut with Garmin-Sharp in 2013 but did not finish the 165km ninth stage to Bagneres-de-Bigorre that Daniel Martin won. This year’s Tour would double as his career second participation if selected.