Reigning individual time trial world champion, Rohan Dennis, chose to ride a stripped down BMC Timemachine TT as he rode to victory to defend his title today. Notably opting not to use his Bahrain-Merida team-issued Merida Time Warp TT.
Riders are free to choose their own equipment when it comes to representing their national federations at the UCI Road World Championships, but most choose to use equipment from their trade teams and sponsors. The pressure is certainly there, Linda Villumsen was nearly sacked on the spot by UnitedHealthcare when she road a blacked-out, non-team-issue bike in the world time trial title in 2015.
The battle over equipment was the talk of the town following Dennis’ sudden withdrawal from the Tour de France on stage 12, a day before the individual time trial of which he was a favorite to win. His aversion to Merida’s time trial bike was one of the many reasons cited, Dennis hasn’t raced since.
Dennis used the same BMC bike he rode to victory in Innsbruck in 2018 to win the ITT world title today, albeit with the bike stripped down to the bare carbon. The bike also featured CeramicSpeed oversized pulley wheels and the custom molded Speedbar TT aerobars which were another purported source of tension with Bahrain-Merida.
“The national team deemed it was the best equipment for me and my body position, and the best equipment for me to get the result I need to get here. I’ve literally just done testing leading into this. It’s all been a mash-up over… probably since I’ve been in the national team, which I’ve been in every year since I was a junior in 2007. Since then we’ve started finding out information about what’s best for me.”
Dennis went on to say:
“National team trumps trade team.”
Riding the BMC certainly won’t help Dennis’ relationship with Bahrain-Merida, but the move clearly paid off as Dennis dominated the 2019 UCI Road World Championship ITT race and bested Remco Evenepoel by well over a minute.