• Rohan Dennis (C) during Stage 9 of the Vuelta. (Getty)Source: Getty
Rohan Dennis may not return to the Tour de France while he is at BMC Racing, which wholly backed Australian compatriot Richie Porte for a maillot jaune bid this year but will continue with his efforts to mould himself into a Grand Tour rider.
By
Sophie Smith

Source:
Cycling Central
28 Aug 2017 - 9:37 AM  UPDATED 28 Aug 2017 - 10:56 AM

Dennis skipped the competition this season partly due to his own long-term career designs to become a Grand Tour title contender in the future.

The theory was that investing energy into personal pursuits - over super domestique duties at the Tour - would be better spent.

“Richie said he’d like to have me at the Tour and you don’t want to say definitely no, but I have to lean towards looking after myself maybe for a year or two, just to see where I’m at and what I have to do,” Dennis told Cycling Central in December.

"[I have to] get my mind around that and not bite off more than I can chew when it comes to if I go to the Tour, or any race here on in, look after myself a little bit more.”

Porte in July was confident he would continue to solely lead BMC at the Tour, creating room for speculation as to what that they mean for Dennis and American Tejay van Garderen, who are both currently racing at the Vuelta a España.

“My aspirations for GC contention have not changed at all. With BMC that means I am not going to be targeting the TDF for GC but there are still two great options with the Giro and Vuelta,” Dennis said from the Vuelta.

The 27-year-old raced effectively as a Plan B to van Garderen at the Giro d’Italia in May but was forced to abandon through crash related injuries.

“The Giro is simply gone and I have put it behind me 100 per cent,” Dennis said.

He claimed the first red leader’s jersey of the Vuelta, with BMC winning the opening team time trial in Nimes, France, before falling out of overall contention. The national champion in the lead-up had said the opener and as well stage 16 – a 40.2km individual time trial – were among his chief goals in Spain.

“The main objective at the start of the year was always Giro with GC and hopefully Vuelta for stages and Worlds prep. Unless I am finding myself on GC then I won't be pushing myself down that road here too much. In saying that, the stages I will target will be more GC style days to test myself,” Dennis said.

It’s not clear if the former UCI Hour Record holder will finish the Vuelta or leave early with the World Championships in Bergen, Norway considered. He currently sits in 80th position overall at almost an hour behind race leader Chris Froome (Sky).

Cycling Australia is set to announce finalised selections for the elite men’s road race and time trial squads next week. Tour de France green jersey champion Michael Matthews is tipped to lead the road race team.

SBS will stream all events from the 16 – 24 September UCI Road World Championships live with the women's and men's road races also live to SBS Viceland.