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‘Absolutely perfect’: Dennis defends time trial title after ‘tough year’

“It’s been a long route to get here since July,” Dennis said.

“There are a lot of people to thank. It’s not just been tough for me, it’s been tough for them too.”

He said he didn’t have a lot of confidence heading into the race until he nailed a training session earlier this month September.

“I didn’t go without a lot of preparation: a lot of time at home, a lot of work on my head to get myself mentally prepared for today,” Dennis said.

“I knew what pace I went out with last year, so I just stuck on that and got into my rhythm.

“I knew I was 20 seconds up at the first check and I knew I had more to give, that I wasn’t going to die on the climbs.

“I had Brad McGee in my ear and my coach in the passenger seat the whole time talking me through it. It was absolutely perfect today.”

Dennis dominated the Yorkshire course.

Dennis dominated the Yorkshire course.Credit:AP

The Australian controversially opted not to ride his Bahrain-Merida team-issued Merida Time Warp TT and instead chose to ride a BMC Timemachine TT for Wednesday’s race.

Dennis pulled out of the Tour de France on stage 12 earlier this year, just ahead of his signature individual time trial event, citing Bahrain-Merida’s equipment among other reasons.

However, he explained that the Australian national team had advised him to defend his TT crown on the BMC Timemachine, which is the same model he rode in his victory in Innsbruck in 2018.

“It’s been a tough year. Obviously, there’s been a lot of talk since the Tour de France about what I’m doing,” Dennis said.

Dennis with Belgium's young silver medallist Remco Evenepoel.

Dennis with Belgium’s young silver medallist Remco Evenepoel.Credit:AP

“It’s really special to back up this year and come here in the best possible shape to defend this title and show that I haven’t hung up the bike.

“I’m here to race and I’m here to win. I’ve got more to show in this sport yet. It was good to really get out there today and hit it out and smash it.”

He hopes to have a few more years in the “top seat” and will be gunning for gold in Tokyo but admitted times are a changing, pointing to 19-year-old Evenepoel alongside him.

Evenepoel, already being likened to Belgian great Eddy Merckx after winning the European TT title and the San Sebastian Classic in his first year as a pro, is the youngest medallist ever in the event and said: “This silver feels more like a gold medal for me.”

AAP

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