Australian Rohan Dennis ran into some stiff competition in Primož Roglič (Slovenia) and Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) but still managed to take home the bronze medal at the conclusion of the 44.2 kilometre Olympic men’s time trial finishing on the Fuji International Speedway.
Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) was the fastest of the early starters, but the big hitters were in the final wave of riders and soon looked to be setting a new bar as they posted new best marks at the intermediate time checks out on course with Dumoulin leading the way.
The Dutchman had take time off from cycling for mental health reasons, but he looked like he had barely missed a beat in a competitive sense, blazing a trail round the course of fast times for his rivals to try and match.
Dennis, Dumoulin, Wout van Aert (Belgium) and reigning world champion Filippo Ganna (Italy) were all around the mark of the fastest time, finishing the first lap of the course within ten seconds of Roglič’s time.
From there the Slovenian was to prove the most durable, catching up with his 90-second man Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) and playing leap frog with him as they approached the final.
Dumoulin set a time over a minute faster than Uran, but it was the scorching pace of Roglič that set the unbeatable mark, a minute and one second faster than the Dutchman.
From there, Dennis was the one to push things closest, but finished outside Dumoulin’s time, with a nervous wait as first Stefan Kung (Switzerland) and then Ganna finished just outside his mark, meaning that the Australian secured Olympic time trial bronze.
The Australian’s preparation for the Tokyo Olympics has been meticulous as always and it was no surprise to see him up there among the best again.
The other Australian competitor was Richie Porte, who finished in 27th position, five minutes and 49 seconds behind the time of Roglič.
By Jamie Finch-Penninger