Aussie cyclist who was brutally axed by his team during the Tour de France after stopping mid-race with ‘mental health’ issues overcomes heartbreak to win Olympics bronze medal
- Australian cyclist Rohan Dennis won bronze medal for individual time trial
- The 31-year-old was dropped by team during 2019 Tour de France mid-race
- He couldn’t continue with mental health issues and Bahrain-Merida sacked him
- The Adelaide man overcame several heartbreaks to win bronze at Tokyo Games
Australian cyclist Rohan Dennis has gone from being dropped by his team mid-Tour de France because of mental health issues and a series of heartbreaking losses to Olympic bronze medallist.
The 31-year-old from Adelaide won a silver as part of Australia’s pursuit team on the track at the 2012 London Olympics – and on Wednesday added a bronze in the men’s individual time trial at the Tokyo Games.
Dennis, one of Australia’s finest cyclists, was dropped by Bahrain-Merida mid-race after pulling over and saying he couldn’t continue in the 2019 edition of the Tour de France, a period of his career he described as ‘almost breaking’.
The Aussie produced a stunning final ride to get onto the podium at Tokyo and take home his second Olympic medal.
‘I got on the podium and it’s a huge relief. It’s been a serious journey to get here and I’m very proud of this medal,’ he told reporters.
‘It’s been a long five years, it’s been a lot of ups and downs.’
Australian cyclist Rohan Dennis has gone from being dropped by his team mid-Tour de France because of mental health issues and a series of heartbreaking losses to bronze medallist
The 31-year-old from Adelaide won a silver as part of Australia’s pursuit team at the 2012 Games – and Wednesday added a bronze in the men’s individual time trial at the Tokyo Games
Over his career, Dennis has won two world time trial titles, broken a world one-hour record, annexed Commonwealth Games silver, won Tour de France yellow and won stages at each of the three grand tours.
Yet in recent years, he’s also had serious low points including crashes, unfortunate medal near-misses and a Tour de France walk-out when he feared for his mental health and family life because of a damaging row with his Bahrain-Merida employers.
Dennis was on track to medal at the 2015 world champions, the 2016 Rio Olympics and again at the 2017 world championships only to see punctures and crashes rob him of the podium each time.
‘I have done all three: punctured, crashed and broke my bike. So what else can go wrong?’ he said following the 2017 crash.
Now, though, after a rejuvenating spell with British outfit Team Ineos Grenadiers, he reckoned ‘everything was left out there in training’ for him to produce another medal ride, even if he accepted Tom Dumoulin and champion Primoz Roglic, in a league of his own, were just too good.
‘Obviously, it would’ve been great to get the gold, but I’ve done everything possible to be in this position,’ he shrugged.
The Aussie produced a stunning final ride to get onto the podium at Tokyo and take home his second Olympic medal
‘I got on the podium and it’s a huge relief. It’s been a serious journey to get here and I’m very proud of this medal,’ he told reporters. ‘It’s been a long five years, it’s been a lot of ups and downs’
‘Obviously, the last 12 months have been quite difficult for everybody … I can be proud of everything me and the team have achieved. We achieved that goal of at least being on the podium and I’m very happy with it.’
Talking about the support he’s received, Dennis added: ‘Not just from the team but family as well.
‘It hasn’t been easy. We can’t get back to Australia too easily and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen all my family, not just my wife and kids. It’s great to have them on the same time zone as me and not have to watch the race at 1am or 2am.’
But he felt he’d had great support back home in Australia. ‘It’s been amazing,’ he said. ‘As much as I’ve been told not to look at social media, I do. But there’s a lot of positive support – and thank you very much for that.’
DAY 6 SCHEDULE – MUST-WATCH EVENTS
11:30am – Men’s 800m freestyle – Jack McLoughlin
11.45am – Men’s 200m breaststroke – Zac Stubblety Cook
11.53am – Women’s 100m freestyle – Emma McKeon
12.37pm – Men’s 100m freestyle – Kyle Chalmers
1.31pm – Women’s 4x200m freestyle – Australia
4:55pm – Women’s C1 Canoe Slalom – Jess Fox
8.02pm – Women’s 800m freestyle – Ariarne Titmus
9.08pm – Women’s 200m backstroke – Kaylee McKeown
9.28pm – Mixed 4x100m medley – Australia