Zeeland - Rohan Dennis said it was a "hard pill to swallow" making
the decision to give up the yellow jersey after just one day at the Tour de
The 25-year-old Australian scorched to a brilliant victory on Saturday's
opening stage time trial to wear yellow on Sunday's second stage from Utrecht
to Zeeland in the Netherlands.
But he was caught behind when the peloton split up due to crashes and as he
was alongside reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali at that time, he put his BMC
team leader Tejay Van Garderen's interests before his own and waved goodbye to
Van Garderen is hoping to challenge the 'fantastic four' of Nibali, Chris
Froome, Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana for overall victory and currently
sits ahead of all of them in the standings.
"I didn't expect to have to make the call out on the road that I did
that they don't wait for me and that they go ahead when there was a small
split, but that's racing," said a downbeat Dennis.
"In the end, that was the best decision to make for Tejay's long-term
goal for finishing in Paris.
"There was a split, (Thibaut) Pinot pulled off, he let the wheel go and
before I could know what was going on he pulled right and so did everyone else.
"They looked to me to close the gap but I knew straight away that Tejay
was in front and I started looking around to see who was in the bunch. Nibali
was there and he was ready to go.
"It was one of those decisions that was a hard pill to swallow when I
did but I decided to not chase and to give up, well potentially give up the
yellow jersey to put Nibali in a spot of difficulty and hopefully lose time.
"That was my plan, it went that way but it took a while for me to be
100 percent happy with that decision."
Dennis said his team-mates felt bad for leaving him like that but he told
them "not to wait" because it was "the best thing for the
"A lot of guys came to me and they said sorry and I said don't be
sorry," he added.
However, he still enjoyed his day in yellow and said it has whet his
appetite for more.
"It was a good experience, it was an honour to wear it (the yellow
jersey) and I hope it happens again, maybe next year.
"I don't know what the course is but it's always a goal of mine to be
able to wear a leader's jersey, especially in the biggest race of the year.
"Everyone said to me it must be a dream come true and it really is.
"When I was a kid I only knew of the Tour de France, I didn't know of
any race other than this and it was always 'I want to win that race, or at
least lead it for a short period."