Jumbo-Visma will be without a team leader for the Tour de Romandie, with Rohan Dennis pulling out of the race through illness.
Dennis had made a big target of the six-stage Swiss race, which gets underway on Tuesday, outlining his ambitions to win the two time trials and go for the overall title in an interview with Cyclingnews.
However, he became sick at the weekend and had to pull out of the race, which was one of his big individual goals for his final season.
“Unfortunately I won’t be signing on at Romandie this year,” Dennis wrote on his social media pages (opens in new tab). “I woke up sick yesterday, the team and I have agreed it’s better to rest and recover for the next races and goals.”
Dennis, who was on the cusp of overall victory last year before he ‘blew up’ in the final time trial, has been replaced in Jumbo-Visma’s line-up by the Dutch domestique Lennard Hofstede.
In Dennis’ absence, they still have a strong squad with multiple potential general classification candidates. Tobias Foss, the world time trial champion, will be in action ahead of supporting Primož Roglič at the Giro d’Italia, while former Tour de France podium finisher Steven Kruijswijk also lines up.
The pair are joined by the British neo-pro Thomas Gloag, who was sixth overall at his first race, the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, and is a reserve for the Giro. The 21-year-old crashed out of Coppi e Bartali but has apparently recovered and recently completed an altitude training camp with the Giro squad in Tenerife.
“It was a fantastic experience. I am trying to learn as much as possible from experienced riders like Primož Roglič or Robert Gesink,” Gloag said.
“Their daily routines, preparation before training, and recovery afterwards. The level was incredibly high, but I really enjoyed it. I hope they will do very well in Italy, and I have a lot of confidence in them.”
The Tour de Romandie begins on Tuesday with a short prologue, followed by a couple of moderately hilly stages. The key days are the stage 3 time trial – uphill in the first half then downhill to the line – and the stage 4 summit finish at Thyon 2000 before the race concludes with a much gentler final stage on Sunday.
“There is one real mountain stage, and I look forward to seeing how far I can get,” Gloag said. “I have also been working hard on my time trial. I will have to put in a lot more effort in the future, but I am excited about the two time trials in this race.”
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