Dennis hits back to retain world time-trial title

Harrogate (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Australia's Rohan Dennis retained his title at the cycling world championship time-trial on Wednesday by blowing away the competition in Yorkshire.

Dennis was last man out on the 54km route to Harrogate and was far too good as he stormed to the finish line 1min 08sec ahead of Belgian teenager Remco Evenepoel with Italy's Filippo Ganna claiming bronze.

"It was an absolutely perfect day," Dennis told the BBC. "I have a lot of people to thank and it's just good to repay them on the day when it really matters."

Victory was even sweeter for Dennis this year after a difficult season.

The 29-year-old controversially threw in the towel at the start of a classic climb on the Tour de France's 12th stage in July, missing out on the time-trial at the Tour the next day.

Dennis was reportedly unhappy with his bike for the time-trial at the Tour, but his behaviour stunned his team, Bahrain Merida, who then left him out of their squad for the Vuelta a Espana.

However, Dennis appeared fresh rather than rusty having not ridden since the Tour as he steadily increased his lead across the course.

"It's been a tough year, a lot of talk since Tour de France about what I'm doing, so it's really special to back up this year," added Dennis.

"To come here in the best possible shape and defend this title to show I'm still here to race, still here to win, and I've still got more to give in this sport."

Injuries to Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin, along with the absence of Geraint Thomas, opened the door for 19-year-old Evenepoel to back up his European time-trial title earlier in the year.

Evenepoel was comfortably the best of the rest as he finished 46 seconds ahead of Ganna.

Four-time world champion Tony Martin could only manage ninth, while Vuelta winner Primoz Roglic was caught on the finish line by Dennis despite starting three minutes ahead of the winner as the Slovenian finished down in 12th.