Sunday 19 May 2019

'Rohan and Joey pulled off a great one-two for the team today'


BMC Racing Team’s Australian cyclist Rohan Dennis celebrates after winning the 16th stage of the Vuelta a Espana. Photo: AFP/Getty
BMC Racing Team’s Australian cyclist Rohan Dennis celebrates after winning the 16th stage of the Vuelta a Espana. Photo: AFP/Getty

Nicolas Roche

Tuesday September 11, Stage 16: Santillana to Torrelevega (32km Individual Time Trial). Although I didn't roll off the start ramp of today's time trial until 4.15 this afternoon, I was out on my time trial bike, checking out this afternoon's 32km course with the guys at 11.0 this morning.

Our time trial bikes don't travel the whole race with us.

Instead they are stored at the team base in Belgium and driven down a couple of days before the time trials.

After our recon ride, my room-mate Dylan Teuns and I jumped into the team car and got a lift from the finish to the team bus, which was parked in the start area, 10km away.

I'd had a good breakfast this morning so after a quick shower on the bus, I had a bowl of cereal for lunch and just hung around until it was my time to warm up for the stage.

I'm riding the time trial as well as the road race for Ireland at the world championships in Austria at the end of the month, so I wanted to do a focused ride today.

But I knew this morning when my power output was lower than usual during a few intervals on the recon that I wouldn't be doing a great time.

A few bursts while warming up on the home trainer re-enforced my suspicions and out on the road I just didn't have the power I wanted.

I gave it a go but I was just empty.

The time trial was a really good course for me and afterwards I was a bit disappointed that I went in the breakaway so many times last week.

To be fair, I was never going to win today's race against the clock and I'm so far down the overall standing that gaining time wasn't a priority today either but I just felt I could have done a better time had I been that bit fresher.

But afterwards I sat down with my team coach Daniel Green and went through the season so far and what's ahead for the rest of the year.

I realised I've had a higher TSS or 'Training Stress Score' for my last three stages in the break than you'd have in a one-day classic, so it shouldn't be a surprise that I'm tired.

Having started the stage two minutes behind me, Dylan came flying across the line a few seconds after me but while he got a lift back to the start area, I rolled back to the bus on a light gear to loosen out my legs.

On the transfer to our next hotel afterwards, we got a group text to tell us that our team-mate Rohan Dennis had won the stage and Joey Rosskopf had taken second, which is a great result for both of them.

Since winning the opening time trial and taking the first race leader's jersey here two weeks ago, the Australian time trial champion has been quietly preparing for the world championships. If he needed to do efforts on stages, he did efforts, if he needed to hang in on a climb or ease up, he hung in or eased up.

Just doing his own training during the race, today was another stepping stone on the way to hopefully donning the rainbow jersey in Austria and he managed to nail it.

Joey also did a good opening time trial in Malaga and while I thought he would do a good ride today I'm delighted to see him take second on the stage, making it a great one-two for the team.

We've now won three stages here, so it's been a good Vuelta for BMC.

Tomorrow we head back into the mountains, for the last few chances to get up the road and go for another stage win.

It's going to be tough to get in the breakaway now but even if I do, whether it stays away or not depends on the overall contenders and their tactics for each stage.

If they want to make the racing hard for each other from far out, then there's not much hope an escape group will be able to hold them off.

So let's hope they leave things down to the final climb each day and give us a chance.

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