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Two-time former world time trial champion Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) has started his season in emphatic fashion, winning his fourth Australian time trial title.
Dennis completed the 37.5 km course around Ballarat’s Federation University in a scorching time of 45:33 – an average speed of 49.4 km/h – taking gold by 1:13 ahead of long-time rival and fellow four-time winner Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange-Jayco). Dennis and Durbridge were joined on the podium by Conor Leahy (Inform TMX Make) whose 47:21 put him 34 seconds behind Durbridge and 1:48 behind Dennis.
Daniel Luke set an early best time with a 50:11 but it was Leahy’s new best of 47:21 that marked the start of the top times. Only Durbridge and Dennis were able to better Leahy’s time.
Durbridge and Dennis appeared on equal footing after the first of two laps, but by the time Dennis crossed the line, he’d long passed Durbridge, who’d started a minute ahead of him.
“It’s been a good two years since I’ve been back in Australia and it’s always good to win Nationals,” Dennis said. “It’s never easy as I’ve shown both times when I was world champion; I couldn’t win. It’s always about who can really prepare properly and everyone brings their A-game in January, so it’s always one of the hardest ones to win in Australia.
“I’m just glad I got through unscathed. It’s been obviously a long two years. I hadn’t seen my family for two years and you don’t realise how much you need to fill that cup back up. So, even though I find Europe home at the moment because everything I have at home is there, Australia still has a lot of meaning to me.”
Dennis’s time was notably quicker than the winning time set on the same course in recent years. His 45:33 was nearly half a minute faster than Luke Plapp’s 46:00 in 2021 and Durbridge’s 46:18 in 2020.
Defending champion Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) didn’t start today’s event after being deemed a close contact in a COVID case.
Earlier in the day Carter Turnbull (Inform TMX Make) took his second straight U23 time trial title, beating Bridgelane pair Matthew Dinham (second; +0:37) and Zac Marriage (third; +0:57) to claim the gold medal.