• Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe has beat out Australia's Rohan Dennis for the Tour of California title. (AAP)
Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) has twice finished second overall at the Tour of California and comes back to the race to target the top step of the podium in 2019.
By
SBS Cycling Central

Source:
Amgen Tour of California
24 Apr - 11:10 AM 

The reigning world time-trial champion and Tour de France hopeful will look to start hitting some form in the Californian mountains and go for the win in a race that has suited the Australian star. 

“I love the Amgen Tour of California and I have really missed it over the last two seasons”, Dennis said ahead of his fourth participation. “It’s a hard race but not stressful, so in my eyes it’s a great way to find your legs and still be able to enjoy it.

"Every time I have been to California I have always aimed for the top step and this year is no different. The only difference this year is that I don’t have a time-trial to help me with that.”

With his impressive record (seven wins out of nine TTs ridden in 2018 including the world championships victory), an individual time-trial would definitely have bolstered Dennis’ chances for the overall title. History shows he won the TT in Folsom last time he raced in California, back in 2016, but Julian Alaphilippe won the overall while the Australian came second.

History also shows that without the TT dominated by Bradley Wiggins in 2014 (Dennis finished 2nd), he could have won the Amgen Tour of California at 24 years old, thanks to a stellar ride for the stage win up Mount Diablo - he finished second overall, 30 seconds behind Wiggins.

“I honestly wasn’t feeling great that day”, Dennis recalled. “I crashed on Stage 1 pretty hard and it knocked me around a bit.” 

“I simply just switched my brain off after about half way and I really only believed I could give the stage a crack at 1.5km to go.” 

SBS will be broadcasting all the action the Tour of California on SBS VICELAND along with live streaming on Cycling Central and SBS OnDemand from May 13-19.