Rohan Dennis continues to lead the Giro d’Italia
The Big Start in Israel is behind them and the riders of the 101st Giro d’Italia are now back the race’s ‘home’ soil. Rohan Dennis continues to lead GC in the first Grand Tour of 2018.
– Photos: Yuzuru Sunada
We’ve seen him do it before: have a good time trial and put on a leader’s jersey. Rohan Dennis can boast about having the fastest average speed in a TT of the Tour de France (2015) and a yellow jersey. His BMC Racing team was quick in the TTT of the Vuelta a España (2017) and he was first to cross the line in stage one last year. And so there’s a red jersey in the collection.
In 2018, he didn’t win the TT on day one of the Giro d’Italia but he took the lead of the race’s general classification on stage two after an impressive sprint for time bonuses. First over the line, with an output of over 1,300 watts, he collected three seconds and made up the deficit to the winner of stage one, Tom Dumoulin.
Since the end of that stage to Tel Aviv on Saturday 5 May, Dennis has been presented with three maglia rosas. The 27-year-old has led all three Grand Tours but this is the first time he’s kept the leader’s jersey for more than a day.
There’s been a rest day (for the transfer from Israel to Sicily, on Monday, after three days of racing), a couple of sprint wins for Elia Viviani, and now an undulating stage on the Italian island. The tough terrain of stage four shook things up a little and one of the pre-race favourites, Chris Froome, conceded more time to other GC rivals.
With 1,700m of climbing in the race from Catania to Caltagirone, it wasn’t going to be a hat-trick from Viviani. Yesterday’s stage was a tough test with Tim Wellens earning full marks by beating Canadian Michael Woods to the line. It’s the second Giro stage win for the Belgian who won stage six two years ago.
The peloton at Palazzolo Arcreide (above) during stage four of the 101st Giro d’Italia.
Photo: Yuzuru Sunada
As the official release from the Giro organisers reminds us, it’s the third time in five years that an Australian wears the maglia rosa after stage four. Dennis follows the example of Michael Matthews (2014) and Simon Clarke in 2015. And another Aussies had an influence on the win for Wellens in Caltagirone.
“The last pull by Adam Hansen was very strong,” said the 26-year-old from the Belgian Lotto-Soudal team (renamed for the Giro in 2018 to ‘Lotto-Fix All’).
“Tosh Van der Sande put me in a perfect position 500 metres before the end. I passed Enrico Battaglin with 200 metres to go but only after the line did I know I had won the stage. Two years ago, I rode away from the breakaway to enjoy my first Giro d’Italia victory.”
Tim Wellens beats Michael Woods to the line in stage four (above).
Photo: Yuzuru Sunada
Dennis began his seventh Grand Tour with aspirations of a good result on GC. Things started well, got better and he’s maintaining his commitment along with strong support from his BMC Racing team-mates who have made it clear that it’s their plan to defend the pink jersey in the opening stanza of this Giro.
“Hopefully I’ll retain the maglia rosafor a couple more days,” said Dennis at the finish in Sicily. “Tomorrow, it can be a similar stage but [Mount] Etna will be my big test against the GC riders to see where I’m at as a Grand Tour contender.”
The fourth stage had plenty of hills but stage five includes a true mountain of a climb. For Dennis the real challenge to his lead is due on Thursday. In the meantime, the Australian can be content in the knowledge that he’s still got the power to lead one of the biggest bike races in the world.
Dennis is back in pink… a third stage completed as leader of the Giro.
Photo: Yuzuru Sunada
Velon is reporting on the Giro d’Italia with an impressive collection data each day. It is part of the evolution of cycling coverage and allows fans to understand the power output required (as well as capturing footage from inside the peloton).
During the opening stages we got to see the kind of power Dennis was putting out and it is indeed impressive. Perhaps more importantly, it’s an example of a Grand Tour leader and his team being willing to share such information.
The opening stanza of stage four was raced as a rapid pace (with the average for the opening hour over 46km/h). For 12 of those minutes, Velon collected information from the race leader:
- Time: 17’05’’
- Speed: 41.7km/h
- Top speed: 76.0km/h
- Cadence 97rpm
- Power: 353W
- Max power: 1,166W
He is clearly in form and the team was ready for him to lead the GC this May. The Giro is the focus for Dennis’ 2018 racing campaign and he has a specially coloured BMC bike for the ride (below).
Mt Etna promises to serve up a new set of challenges but for now, the Australian continues to be the strongest in the race.