Rohan Dennis claimed his second stage win at this year's Vuelta a España after powering around the stage 16 individual time trial course to set a time 50 seconds faster than his teammate Joey Rosskopf, who helped secure a BMC Racing Team one-two on the 32-kilometer course.
Just as he did on stage 1 in Malaga, the reigning Australian national time trial champion came into the race as one of the favorites, and he proved why by settling into his rhythm quickly to post the provisional best time at the first intermediate checkpoint, 12'10".
After also setting the fastest time at the second checkpoint, 27'04", Dennis was able to power towards the finish line on the flat final run in and, after leaving everything out on the road, he stopped the clock at 37'57", the only time under 38 minutes, to move into the hot seat.
It was a long, and at times nervous, wait for Dennis, who started his effort early, but ultimately his impressive show of power and speed was more than enough to see him punch the air with delight when he stepped back onto the top step of the podium in Spain.
Another show of strength from BMC Racing Team saw Joey Rosskopf, the American national time trial champion, prove his time trialling prowess to finish second on stage 16, 50 seconds behind Dennis while, Dylan Teuns put in a solid performance to finish just outside the top ten in 11th place with a time of 39'14".
After achieving both of the goals he set himself at the start of the race, winning the stage 1 and stage 16 time trials, Dennis will now leave the Vuelta a España to focus on the UCI World Championships later this month.
Rohan, Congratulations on your second time trial win at the Vuelta a Espana. How was it out there?
"It was a good little hit out. I tried to control it at the start and finish and make my move in the middle section and it worked out perfectly. I knew I was on a good one just looking at my power on the Garmin. Really, I didn't know what Kwiatkowski and some of these later guys could do. All I knew was what Castroviejo was doing at that time and he's a pretty good indicator of if you are doing well or not. But, I think the big performance of the day goes to Joey Rosskopf. He's the best teammate, easiest guy to be at the back of the bus with, and he got second so I'm really happy for him."
How did you pace the effort?
"I just stuck to my plan today. My coach and I set a target for each climb and the pacing and I just stayed calm. Really, in the final it was just about controlling it after the hills. In the back of my mind I was thinking that in two weeks' time I have to go 20 kilometers longer so try to control this and hopefully you can still get the win, and don't destroy yourself. I was hoping there would be a big gap between the other riders and me, but I was surprised that Kwiatkowski wasn't up there more but he's had a bad run with a few crashes and he's been going for the GC so he's been using much more energy than me each day. I've been able to relax and save it for today and I'm happy that it was my teammate Joey who got second."
After winning both time trials, your goal coming into the race, you now leave the race to focus on your next goal. How is everything looking for the World Championships?
"Everything is looking good for the World Championships. I'll be heading home now and preparing specifically for the time trial and team time trial, so hopefully I will have one more box ticked by the end of the season. So far, I think the Vuelta has been the best preparation for the Worlds in Innsbruck. It has been tough, especially the first nine days with the heat which really knocked me around. Luckily, it started to cool down and I started to feel better and better. I'd rather feel better as I get further into a Grand Tour than worse. So, I think this race has been the perfect preparation for the World Championships.
"I felt better than expected for having raced two weeks already. You never really know what to expect I guess. Some days I get on the bike and feel empty and some days I feel alright. Luckily it was one of the good days. I can't really ask for much more than to be second to Rohan. It's nice to be able to have a goal, a focus, and actually be able to come through with it, and get a positive result. Every time you commit to a goal, you're going out on a limb and it doesn't always pan out. So, it's nice to be able to see your goal all the way through and turn it into a good performance."
Vuelta a España
Stage 16: Santillana del Mar > Torrelavega, 32km
Top 3: 1. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) 2. Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing Team) 3. Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Sky)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 1. Rohan Dennis 2. Joey Rosskopf 11. Dylan Teuns
Article originally published at: bmc-switzerland.com
Image Caption: Rohan Dennis powering around the course. © Photo Gomez Sport