• (L-R) Remco Evenepoel, Rohan Dennis and Filippo Ganna. (Getty)Source: Getty
Rohan Dennis has pursued a different build-up to his world championships than last year, with the two-time world champion time triallist racing recently at Tirreno-Adriatico, as opposed to his long absence from racing in the build-up to the 2019 world championships.
By
SBS Cycling Central

25 Sep 2020 - 11:39 AM 

Dennis' 2019 triumph was the bright light of the second half of the year after he left the Tour de France in strange circumstances and didn't race for the rest of the year with his Bahrain-Merida team.

This year, he has raced more consistently, with his recent appearance at Tirreno-Adriatico confirming that he's in good form. The question is whether it's world-beating form, given that two of his main competitors, Filippo Ganna and Victor Campanaerts beat him in the final time trial, albeit over a much shorter course. 

Dennis is due to start his time trial at 11.54 pm AEST Friday, and talked of his preparation in a brief statement through an Australian Cycling Team press release.

"The Worlds has been on my mind throughout the lockdown. Regardless of the category, it is always a great honour to race with the rainbow jersey. Every time I wear it, I race to win," said Dennis, who is aiming to win his third consecutive rainbow jersey and join fellow Aussie triple-winner Michael Rogers. Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin currently have the most titles at four apiece.

"I am in good shape. It is always very special to participate in the most important race of the year, but to get a chance to fight for a win for the third time in a row and join an exclusive group of champions who have achieved this feat will be fantastic."

Luke Durbridge skipped the Tour de France when the world championships was going to clash with the French Grand Tour, and he's stated that he's looking to target the time trial at the Tokyo Olympics. He's looking pretty lean at the moment and was quite a brilliant time-triallist before adapting his skills more broadly as a classics rider and domestique on Mitchelton-Scott. 

He appears to have returned to a laser focus on the time trial and if he can manage a peak performance, he'll go well. Dennis said after the nationals that if Durbridge was able to replicate his Buninyong performance at worlds it likely would have been good enough for fifth, so that is as good as endorsement as any that Durbridge can aim pretty high in 2020. Durbridge begins his time trial at 10.55 pm AEST Friday.

"I really like it, it is really fast," Durbridge said. "Quite short, but it has a lot of different aspects. I think it will be a nice spectacle, with a few nice rides that roll along the back straight with the vineyards along the side. I think it is a good course for myself, I'm liking it and looking forward to it."

The World Championships continues tonight with the men's time trial from Imola, Italy. Rohan Dennis and Luke Durbridge will fly the flag for Australia, with coverage beginning from 2225 AEST on SBS On Demand and streaming via the Cycling Central website.