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The Australian, who signed for the Dutch team after two years at Ineos Grenadiers, won the men’s individual time trial at the Commonwealth Games this summer and then raced the Vuelta a España where he backed up team leader Primož Roglič, until the Slovenian crashed out.
When he left Ineos Grenadiers at the end of 2021, Dennis made it clear that he felt that Jumbo-Visma was the most complete team when it came to searching for technological improvements. Twelve months on and in the Australian’s eyes nothing has changed.
“I don’t think anyone’s taking over from Jumbo for a while. It’s a huge gap and it’s a team that’s pushing the limit, legally of course, to get the best performance out of all the riders,” he told the British magazine.
“Everything is dialled to the point where if you’re not performing it’s your fault, which is a nice thing to have. That adds extra pressure on the athlete, but that’s a responsibility that you have as a professional anyway. I’d rather be that way than you rock up to a race and your bikes are not built properly and it breaks or the equipment is second hand and you’re at a disadvantage.”
At the Vuelta a España the Jumbo-Visma team rallied to three-time winner and team leader Roglič. The Slovenian was coming off the back of a disappointing Tour de France that left him with his second DNF in as many years. Dennis was a key worker during the race but Remco Evenepoel would go on to crush the opposition with a near faultless performance over three weeks.
The Belgian then carried that form into the world championships to win the men’s road race in Australia and has been earmarked for the out-and-out favorite for the Giro d’Italia in 2023.
Despite the fanfare and success, Dennis believes that the young Belgian still has a weak spot when it comes to one key area – “technical downhills.”
“You don’t want to exploit someone’s bad luck with that crash he had on the downhill, but it was a crack, we’re not going to just let him win. It’s part of the sport to find a weakness and exploit it. Before that crash he wasn’t showing too much weakness on the downhill, but after that he was a little bit nervous. There were some cracks there,” he told Rouleur.
“The day that Primož crashed at the finish, those cracks showed up with Remco. It was a little bit technical, it was a bit fighty, a bit nervous, that’s where he [Remco] started to slip back and got out of position. Luckily for him he had that puncture within three kilometers to go.”
Dennis is set to race the Tour Down Under in 2023 but will likely start his season with the Australian road championships just before.