Adelaide local Rohan Dennis was an outside favourite not only in the peloton but on his own BMC Racing team when he won the 2015 Tour Down Under. In 2016, the 27-year-old rode in support of Richie Porte as he finished second to Simon Gerrans.
In 2018, the trio of riders will all line out for BMC in Adelaide as the winners of the last four editions of the race. Porte is the defending champion but with only three race days since crashing out of the 2017 Tour de France, his form is somewhat unknown compared to his two teammates.
“There is a lot of pressure on us. Obviously, Richie won quite convincingly last year and Gerro the year before, me the year before and then Gerro,” Dennis said before he and BMC headed out for an early morning training ride to avoid Thursday’s 38-degree heat.
“It has put a bit of pressure on us but I think we are ready. Even though Simon didn’t win nationals or Richie or myself, we are all in good form and we will see how it goes on what I think is the first big stage, up Norton Summit on stage 4.”
Dennis started his season with a third time trial title last week, while Gerrans put in a show of strength in the road race before Porte tested his legs with a serious of stinging attacks before finishing 14th. The Paracombe finish, where Porte and Dennis laid the foundations of their wins in 2015 and 2017, has been removed from the Tour Down Under parcours with the new finish in Uraidla via Norton Summit enticing the climbers.
While Willunga Hill, where Porte has won for the last four years, remains the queen stage of the race, Dennis looks to stage 4 as a genuine race-defining day in the battle for the leader’s ochre jersey.
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