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Rohan Dennis Interview


We caught up with talented Australian pro Rohan Dennis as he prepared in Europe for the forthcoming World Track Championships. Having recently posted the second fastest Individual Pursuit time in history Dennis begins the 2010 season with the Rabobank U23 Development squad.

How do you train specifically for the Individual and team pursuits? Can you go into detail of any particular workouts you do. How involved is your coach in your preparations? Is there a major difference in the way you prepare for the team and individual pursuit?
All our training is based around making our bodies more tolerant to high lactate levels so for me because I am not training on the track I have to do a fair bit of my training on the ergo. My coach Tim Decker gives me a day by day program but because I am in Europe I have to do it by myself. If I was in Australia most of my training sessions would be looked over by him. Team pursuit training is more explosive and shorter efforts than individual pursuit training and more so when you are this close to a big competition.

As part of your training is it all specifically on the bike and do you also have mental preparation as part of your ‘training’?
We do both training on and off the bike, there is some core exercises we do to help us be stable through the upper body when we are in our aero bars. A few of us use sport psychologists but it is not compulsory.

Do you use a power meter on the road or track, or both and how does this data help you?
We all use power on the road and track to train the right energy systems. Without them you don’t have the data to give you data about how you are training which isn’t a must but it is good to be able to follow your progress  throughout the season.

You’re a successful road rider and recently rode the second fastest pursuit in history. You clearly have all the attributes to become a highly successful pro rider. Which races inspire you and perhaps one day you wish to ride?
I definitely want to have a long career on the road so I am hoping that I have all the attributes to be a highly successful professional. That’s a hard one because there are so many good races but I would love to be able to win one of the big classics.

We read recently that you have quite a prolific tattoo on your back, how is it progressing and can you explain the reason behind it?
Yeah it’s the Australian coat of arms with the southern cross in the background. The reason behind getting it was because of the commonwealth games and world champs in Australia last year.

You’re all set to join up with the Rabobank development team over in Holland. Will you be training with your countryman Michael Matthews. What races will form part of your programme once the worlds are behind you?

Michael and myself are actually living in the same apartment together this year and Graeme Brown is in the same apartment block so we all train together a fair bit. I have a race program but things are changing all the time and some races are swapped for others so I’m not 100% sure.

What is personally your biggest cycling achievement to date?
There would have to be two which are on par and they are the team pursuit world championship win last year and being the 2nd fastest in the individual pursuit ever (non superman position) behind Jack Bobridge.

How do you spend the days off the bike?
At the moment I spend a lot of time on the Playstation with Bling and Browny but I’m sure that will change once the weather gets a bit warmer.

What do you love about the sport so much?
Probably because it’s one of the most demanding sport on your body and mentally it is also up there as one of the hardest sports as well. So when you achieve something big it’s the best feeling in the world.

The removal of the Individual Pursuit the Olympics is a major blow for riders like yourself and Jack Bobridge. What are your thoughts?
To put it simply I think it sucks and is stupid that they have taken the Ind Pursuit out of the Olympics.

The strength in depth of the Australian Team Pursuit squad is phenomenal at present. How do you deal with that and the fact you have to fight to get into the squad?

I think it is better that we have such a great depth on the track in Australia because we are all very competitive and helps us push ourselves to the next level.

Rohan Dennis

It’s so refreshing to see so many of your team mates and countrymen part of Bike Pure. You were one of the very first riders to align with our organisation as a role model and we receive many emails from people championing your role model status. What are your feelings about that?
I’m very proud to be apart of an organization which promotes clean cycling and am hoping that I am showing young up and coming cyclist around the world that the results only come from hard work and not a pill that you can get over the counter.

The 2012 Olympics are not too far away. Is that your major goal looking ahead?
The London Olympics is definitely one of my goals looking ahead but I would also like to step up and become a road professional by the end of this year.

You spend many months away from Australia once the European season begins. Is it generally tough for the majority of Aussies being away from their families for such long periods?
It was tough for me the first couple of times I was away but you get use to it and learn to manage by talking to family and friends through Skype and Facebook as much as possible and also just enjoying your time over here and not always thinking about cycling but experiencing and learning as much as possible about the countries you visit.

What is your favourite race?
Nothing beats the tour but other than that I would have to say Paris – Roubaix.

Good luck at the forthcoming track worlds and your season ahead and thank you for being a great role model to cycling fans.
No problems it’s a pleasure.

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