Roger Vaughan / AAP News
The Glasgow 2014 silver medallist returns to the Commonwealth Games looking to go one better in Birmingham.
Welsh cycling star Geraint Thomas is a formidable barrier that Rohan Dennis must overcome to win an elusive Games gold medal.
Thursday’s road time trial at Wolverhampton looms as a head-to-head duel between Thomas and Dennis, a two-time world champion in the discipline.
Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France champion, is coming off an impressive third place in last month’s edition.
Apart from the two world titles, Dennis’ glittering career features the fastest average speed in a time trial stage at the Tour.
He’s won Commonwealth Games silver and last year added bronze in the time trial at the Tokyo Olympics to silver on the track at the 2012 Games.
Asked what there is left to achieve in his career, the 32-year-old said: “to do something I haven’t done yet, which is to win a gold medal, not just a minor medal, at anything that finishes with the word ‘Games’.
“It’s eluded me so far in my career and it would be nice to tick that box.
“It’s not a bad opportunity as well – it’s realistic.”
Dennis will race for the first time since the June Tour of Switzerland, which he failed to finish because of COVID-19.
That cruelled his chances of making the powerful Jumbo Visma team for the Tour, led by their winner Jonas Vingegaard.
Dennis only watched one stage of the Tour, with self-confessed self-interest.
“I was concentrating on the Commonwealth Games and I’d be a little bit nervous if someone took my record off me,” he said of the prologue time trial.
“I was a little bit nervous that day …. so I was watching it.
“One day it will go, but every year extra is always nice.”
Thomas, known as “G”, will be tough opposition on Thursday.
“There are obviously always unknowns, with people who haven’t raced, or someone like G, who is clearly flying,” Dennis said.
“But did he overstretch or finish well? It’s one of those things where the best guy should win on a course like this .. . there’s no hiding, it’s not flat.
“It’s very much the best time trial on the day that will win.”
Australian Grace Brown, who finished fourth in the Tokyo Olympics time trial, is the rider to beat in the women’s event.
Luke Plapp, Georgia Baker and Sarah Roy will be the other Australian starters.