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JAEN, Spain (VN) — Former world time trial champion Rohan Dennis shrugged off missing this month’s elite men’s road worlds team on home roads in Australia.
Dennis, racing this month at the Vuelta a España, will not race in either the time trial or road race.
When the team was confirmed last month, Australian officials cited “family issues” for Dennis’s absence.
“It is what it is. I’ve got my brother’s wedding the day before of the TT and it’s in Germany,” Dennis told SBS on Saturday. “I’m going to be his best man. Family comes first, mate.”
Dennis’s absence from the world’s list came as a surprise, especially considering he was hot off winning the Commonwealth Games time trial in early August.
Dennis won the rainbow stripes in the individual time trial in 2018 and 2019, and 27 of his 31 career victories have come against the clock.
Dennis is also the reigning Australian national TT champion, but it’s likely that Luke Plapp will race for Aussie colors in Wollongong.
Dennis, who also missed the Tour de France this summer, helped power Jumbo-Visma to victory in the opening team time trial to start the 2022 Vuelta a España.
He didn’t have great legs in Alicante, and finished 19th off the pace in the Vuelta’s ITT in stage 10.
“I am feeling better and the legs are feeling good. I had a few rough days at the start. Luckily I’ve been feeling a bit better on the climbs,” Dennis said at the start Saturday.
“We’ve lost a few riders, but it’s pretty evenly spread. Most teams have lost one or two or even three riders. I don’t think it’s too different. It is what it is. We have to sit back a bit and hopefully Quick-Step can waste their bullets before we do.”
Dennis is now trying to help Primož Roglič topple Remco Evenepoel in the closing week of the Vuelta.
On Saturday, Roglič attacked on La Pandera, and pulled back nearly one minute on the Belgian.
“Everything is still unknown with Remco. He’s never made it this far in a grand tour, we have to wait and see,” Dennis said. “Hopefully he gets worse, and Primož gets better. We’re not going to work for the podium. We’re going to throw everything at them, and hopefully we can crack him. If he keeps riding like he is, bravo.”