Happy Dennis says cycling split was best

Roger Vaughan
World champion Rohan Dennis is favoured to claim the Australian time trial title again on Wednesday

Rohan Dennis looks back at his huge move to quit the Tour de France as the hardest and best decision of his cycling career.

The Australian cycling star will return to racing on Wednesday at the national time trial championships in Ballarat, where he will be the hot favourite.

He has won the last two time trial world championships and looms as a gold medal favourite in the event at the Tokyo Olympics.

Last month, he signed a deal with the Ineos, road cycling's most powerful team.

But his career looked in chaos when he pulled out midway through stage 12 of last year's Tour, the day before the race's only individual time trial.

The full story of the split between Dennis and the Bahrain-Merida team is yet to be told, but he says there had been fighting within the team.

Eventually, it was impacting on his home life and Dennis decided enough was enough in the most public of circumstances.

"2019, it was more about fighting within the team and then obviously, it would come home and it was affecting me," Dennis told AAP.

"It was more, what am I doing, putting my family through this.

"It was the hardest decision I've had to make, but the best one."

Dennis did not race again until the September world road championships, where he successfully defended his time trial crown.

Days later, Bahrain-Merida terminated his contract and the matter is now in arbitration with cycling's world governing body, the UCI.

But the Australian is adamant the tumultuous split was the best thing that could have happened.

"If I hadn't made that call, I'd be kicking myself," he said.

"I don't think I would have done the worlds. It would have gone against what's good for me."

Dennis left it late to secure his two-year deal with Ineos.

"It was always going to happen, it was just a matter of where," he said.

"The main concern for me was being in the right place.

"In the end, I got the right place ... being happy was the really key thing"

Dennis said he has never experienced a team environment as professional as the Ineos pre-season camp last month, calling it "a breath of fresh air".

"It's a full 180 from (last year)," he added.

Dennis will also race this month in his home town of Adelaide at the Tour Down Under, which he won five years ago.

He will work as a domestique at the May Giro d'Italia, which features three time trial stages, as he prepares for Tokyo.