Having led the race for four of the six days of the Tour of Romandie, Rohan Dennis was forced to let the turquoise jersey go on the final stage mountain time trial on Sunday, dropping two minutes to eventual race winner Aleksandr Vlasov on at 15.8km run to Villars.
Speaking after the stage, the Australian said he simply had nothing left to give on the second half climb to the line, having reached the 8.5km checkpoint 18 seconds down on Vlasov, the pair level in the virtual general classification at that point.
Dennis, who ended up eighth overall in Romandie, his third stage race with Jumbo-Visma, said later that battling for time each day throughout the race had taken its toll on him.
“I’m absolutely spent,” he told CyclingPro shortly after finishing his ride. “I had absolutely nothing left in the final half of that climb, and it was just a fight.
“The week has taken its toll, fighting each day, but that was a great week with the team. I just want to thank them for all their hard work.
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“It’s been a pleasure to ride as a leader for the team. They’ve given me all the respect possible and it’s just a shame that I couldn’t finish it off on the day. Thanks to Jumbo-Visma for that.”
Dennis had been joined in Switzerland by Steven Kruijswijk, Robert Gesink, and Sepp Kuss, among others, in what will likely be a rare chance to lead the team at a stage race given the ambitions of team leaders Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard.
The double world time trial champion, who moved to the Dutch squad from Ineos Grenadiers over the winter, said that the week, though ending on a disappointing note, was a chance to test himself ahead of future challenges, which will see him working for Roglič and Vingegaard.
Dennis is expected to be part of the team’s Tour de France squad this July, where Roglič and the squad will once again attempt to dethrone two-time winner Tadej Pogačar.
“I’m never going to be a GC leader in a Grand Tour,” said Dennis. “I think maybe I tried to fight too much in the first couple of days to gain as much time as possible in the last few days in the mountains.
“In the end it’s a good test to see what I can do for Primož and Vingegaard when it comes to the high mountains in the Tour or any other Grand Tour.”