• Rohan Dennis is in the process of retooling himself into a Grand Tour rider. (Getty)Source: Getty
Australian Rohan Dennis will use the Tour of the Alps as a test ahead of next month's Giro d'Italia.
Cycling Central

15 Apr 2017 - 7:08 PM 

Australian cycling star Rohan Dennis aims to fine-tune his form at the Tour of the Alps ahead of a major test at the Giro d'Italia

Dennis' project for the next few years is to become an overall contender at the three Grand Tours - the Giro, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.

The 2015 Australian cyclist of the year is a renowned time trial specialist and a former Tour Down Under champion.

But now he wants to join BMC teammate and compatriot Richie Porte as a general classification rider in the big tours.

The 26-year-old Adelaide rider is among several top riders who are using the April 17-21 Tour of the Alps as a key hit out before the Giro starts on May 5 on the island of Sardinia.

"I am coming into Tour of the Alps with the Giro d'Italia at the front of my mind," Dennis said.

"My main priority will be to test myself throughout the race and whatever happens on the general classification happens."

Dennis has enjoyed a strong season so far, successfully defending his time trial crown at the national road championships.

He then helped Porte win the Tour Down Under for the first time and finished sixth overall.

In February, Dennis won the Tour Cycliste International La Provence stage race in France and last month finished second overall at Tirreno-Adriatico, a major early-season stage race in Italy.

His only hiccup has been pulling out of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya stage race last month because of illness.

And that was done more as a precaution, given the Giro is now a major objective for him.

"I have been working hard following Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya so, I'm looking forward to testing myself here," Dennis said of the Tour of the Alps.

BMC team director Max Sciandri said next week's race would be a formidable test in itself.

"It's a tough race with around 3000m of climbing on the so-called easier days and then 4000m on the final stage to Trento," Sciandri said.

"It will be a demanding race with five full-on stages, so we will be taking every day as it comes and looking for opportunities as they arise.

"While our priority is not the general classification specifically, this is a good testing ground ahead of the Giro d'Italia, so we expect Rohan Dennis to be up there."