Rohan Dennis claims surprise time trial world title
Rohan Dennis has become the second Australian to win the men's world Individual Time Trial title.
The 28-year-old was a conclusive victor, completing the 52.5 kilometres in one hour, three minutes and three seconds.
Dennis was a minute and 21 seconds clear of hot favourite and defending champion Tom Dumoulin, the Olympic silver medallist.
European champion Victor Campenaerts was just half a second behind Dumoulin at the end of the course which included a tricky five-kilometre climb.
Long time coming
Dennis was emotional during his media duties after crossing the finish line, having finally won an individual world title after 10 years of trying.
The Australian came closest in 2012 when he finished second in the men's under-23 time trial, but had not finished on the podium as an elite rider.
"It’s a dream come true being world champion, I’ve been chasing this since I was a junior but I’ve never won it in any age group."
Dennis also has an Olympic medal to his name, winning silver at London 2012 on the track.
Australia last had an elite men's world champion in 2009, when Cadel Evans won the road race.
Michael Rogers won three elite individual time trials in a row from 2003 to 2005.
When asked about Rogers' triple triumph, Dennis said, "I'm not too stressed about trying to beat a record. I'm just going to enjoy the moment and the next year in the rainbow jersey."
Dennis left the start ramp ahead of Dumoulin, and had to be kept up-to-date on his rival's progress by his coach.
"He gave me confidence at the top of the climb once Dumoulin came through that I was a minute up. He kept me calm.
"I was considering a victory salute, but I wanted to make sure. You’re never sure until Tom does cross the line."
The Adelaide native's win was met with happiness from Australian fans — and Rogers himself — on Twitter.
...and Dutch disappointment
Dumoulin had been heavily favoured at the start of the day, despite Dennis' recent time trialling form.
The 27-year-old Dutchman finished second at both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, showing a climbing ability which few thought Dennis would be able to match.
But the Sunweb cyclist couldn't match the latter's pace, losing over 50 seconds to Dennis between the first two timing checks.
Both men have been named in their countries' line-ups for the road race on Sunday (30 September), and will now spend the next few days recovering and researching the route.
With over 4,000 metres of climbing involved, neither Dennis nor Dumoulin are considered among the front-runners to win.
Read more about the Olympic Channel's preview of that race here.
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The 2018 UCI Road World Championships are being streamed live on the Olympic Channel (United States only).