Rohan Dennis speaks to the media before the Tour Down Under in January. Picture: Tricia Watkinson.
Rohan Dennis speaks to the media before the Tour Down Under in January. Picture: Tricia Watkinson.

Lockdown: Dennis holed up on stationary bike in Spain

Australian Olympic cyclist and current world champion Rohan Dennis is in the midst of a 14-day lockdown in Spain and doing three-hour training rides on his stationary bike at home.

The 29-year-old has not raced since the Tour of Algarve on February 23 and may not again until June at the earliest.

The UCI - cycling's governing body - has frozen its international calendar until at least April 3 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dennis was planning to attend a training camp with Team Ineos in Tenerife then race the Tour of the Alps, Tour of Catalunya and Giro d'Italia, but that all looks highly unlikely now.

Like all other cyclists in Spain he is banned from even riding outside and is now holed up with wife, Mel, and their son, Oliver, at an apartment in Girona - a popular base for Australian cyclists who live in Europe.

The Dennis family usually lives in Andorra but are in Girona while waiting for their dog Willis to have achilles surgery, and with European borders closing around them look set to remain there indefinitely.

 

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Australia's Rohan Dennis on his way to winning back-to-back time trial world titles last year. Picture: Manu Fernandez (AP)
Australia's Rohan Dennis on his way to winning back-to-back time trial world titles last year. Picture: Manu Fernandez (AP)

They have been told the two-week lockdown could become 30 days if the COVID-19 situation does not improve.

"We're only allowed out to go to the supermarket, a pharmacy or the hairdresser - which is an essential service according to the Spanish government - and hospitals, but we're not allowed to go in groups, so it's ones or twos at most in supermarkets," he told The Advertiser.

The Olympic silver medallist and two-time reigning time trial world champion opened his season with fourth place overall at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, with his eye on the Tokyo Olympics in July.

The Games remain his focus as he continues to put in the work in the hope they will go ahead.

"I was training really well, I was out on the road until yesterday, but it will be two weeks of indoor training now," he said.

"Instead of doing three-day blocks then a recovery day, I'll probably do two days solid on the ergo and then one day off.

"When I was up in Andorra and it was snowing I'd do two and a half to three hours on the ergo.

"I watch movies, do efforts to keep myself stimulated mentally, and usually I'd get through one long movie or two normal length ones.

Dennis has described the mood on the streets in Girona, Spain, as quiet, but calm. Picture: Tim de Waele (Getty)
Dennis has described the mood on the streets in Girona, Spain, as quiet, but calm. Picture: Tim de Waele (Getty)

"Mat Hayman won Paris-Roubaix (from training) on the ergo so I think it's a matter of getting your head around it, pretend the weather is so bad that you're unable to ride outside, and that's just it.

"It will be a shame if Tokyo doesn't go ahead.

"If things aren't under control by July you'd think the world needs to have a good hard look at itself and figure out what is going on.

"I don't believe it should affect the Tokyo Olympics and I hope it doesn't because it's something that if you do cancel it, it probably won't happen (down the track).

"I don't think you could postpone it because so much infrastructure has been set up and such a huge amount of planning has gone into it."

Dennis has described the mood on the streets in Girona as quiet, but calm.

There has been no panic buying like that which Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed as unnecessary and disappointing on Wednesday.

"Mel was at the supermarket yesterday and it was calm. We were also there the day before the lockdown happened and they were restocking shelves, business as usual, no stress going around at all," Dennis said.

"Everyone realises you don't need 20 packets of pasta for two weeks, you can go and get more.

"I know the whole toilet paper thing started in Australia, but it just doesn't make sense."


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