• Rohan Dennis gets areo at the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar. (Getty)Source: Getty
Rohan Dennis and Katrin Garfoot are the riders to beat on day two of the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships time trials.
Cycling Central

5 Jan 2017 - 7:49 AM 

Rohan Dennis starts the next phase of his cycling career on Thursday at the Australian road cycling championships.

Dennis is favoured to go back-to-back in the men's elite individual time trial at Buninyong, near Ballarat, his first event for the year.

But Dennis is determined to move beyond his current status as one of the world's top time-trial riders.

The 26-year-old from Adelaide wants to become a contender in the three-week Grand Tours, such as the Tour de France.

Grand Tour ambitions fuelling Dennis in 2017
Rohan Dennis has asked his BMC team for a free role on career debut at the Giro d’Italia as he aims to improve his position as a future general classification contender.

So from the start of this year, the former track world champion has planned a four-year process where he transforms himself as a rider.

His main European goal this year will be to test himself at the Giro d'Italia, another three-week Grand Tour, and possibly ride at the Tour de France.

Last year a broken bike part cost Dennis a medal in the time trial at the Rio Olympics (he finished fifth) and he was sixth in the event at the worlds.

After riding in Thursday's 40.9km time trial, Dennis will bypass the road race on Sunday and instead head to Adelaide for the January 14-22 Tour Down Under.

Dennis won the Adelaide Tour two years ago, but this time his more likely role will be as support for BMC teammate Richie Porte.

Sean Lake, who finished third last year, is rated one of the top threats to Dennis' national title defence.

Garfoot has become the top Australian time trial rider among the women and she looks too strong for their 29.3km event.

She finished ninth at the Rio Olympics, despite falling ill in the lead-up, and then took third at the world titles.

Her main rival should be Shara Gillow, who rode the time trial at the London Olympics and is a four-time national champion in the event.

The day starts in the morning with the men's under-23 time trial, followed by the women and then the men in the afternoon.

Allen breaks through for first senior national title
The emotion was very real for after the finish to the women’s Criterium national championship in Ballarat. Jessica Allen (Orica-Scott) showed verve and strength to attack and hold off the chasers to claim her first senior national title.

Ewan defends Australian criterium title
Caleb Ewan was too strong for his sprint rivals as he won the national criterium championship for the second-straight year.