• Rohan Dennis at the 2016 Criterium du Dauphine (Sirotti)Source: Sirotti
Rohan Dennis will sacrifice for BMC team-mates in the lead-up to the Rio Olympic Games elite men’s time trial he is determinedly aiming for.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
9 Jun 2016 - 10:51 AM  UPDATED 9 Jun 2016 - 10:53 AM

The 26-year-old is currently racing for compatriot Richie Porte at the Criterium du Dauphine and has dismissed vying for his own opportunities at the eight-day race, which serves as a Tour de France prelude.

“Everything from now on is just as a workhorse I think,” he said. “For me, it’s all about Rio now.”

The Australian national time trial champion is on a Tour de France longlist and hopeful he’ll be selected to support new teammate Porte, who arrived from Team Sky this season, and co-captain Tejay van Garderen in a dual maillot jaune assault.

Porte remains second overall at the Dauphine and on par with chief Tour rivals Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Chris Froome (Sky), after stage three which Fabio Aru (Astana) won on Wednesday.

“We talk every now and then away from the race and he’s pretty relaxed in general,” Dennis said.

“OK, he’s serious about his job but he’s not going to come down on you if he thinks you haven’t done a good job. He’ll talk to you instead of demanding that you do something better, so he’s a really good leader.”

Dennis gauged his form at the Dauphine and took notes from the brutal 4km uphill prologue on Sunday, which saw the general classification contenders strike early.

“It’s not something we normally go up but it’s still something we have to get over and I need to be able to get over that for the Tour,” he said.

“I feel strong and [the] power was really good; it was just a little too steep for the bigger guys like myself.

“I need to work on probably losing a kilo. I’m about 72kg at the moment so I need to probably get down to 71kg for the Tour, which is where I was last year.”

Dennis has set personal markers on the way to Rio and passed his own test at the Tour of California last month, which he finished second overall, behind Juan Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep), and won the stage six time trial.

“California was sort of a bit of a make or break in my mind - just for myself [to] see where I’m at, where the power is at for a time trial that’s not just a prologue,” he said.

“Rio is looking good but I still have a bit of work to do in the next 60 days until [it] starts.”

Australian team selections for the Tour de France and Rio Olympics will be made this month.