Former Olympic track star Rohan Dennis (R) of Australia. Photo: AP
CALGARY: Australia's Rohan Dennis has won cycling's inaugural Tour of Alberta, pressing his claims to contest this month's world championship.
Former track cycling star Dennis finished 19th in the 129km fifth and final stage but with the same time as Slovakian sprint star Peter Sagan, who won a bunched finish in Calgary on Sunday.
That result ensured 23-year-old Dennis, who won the third stage, clinched the overall race victory by 18 seconds from American Brent Bookwalter with Italy's Damiano Caruso a further 12 seconds back.
Dennis is a member of the Australian squad for the world championships in Italy and he hopes his effort is enough to ensure he races for his country there later this month.
But he admitted he was not expecting to win the race, with Sagan, who also won the prologue and first stage, a pre-race favourite.
"It was always a goal of mine to come here and run really well in the prologue and perform well and try to earn a spot for the Australian worlds team," Dennis said.
"But we were always thinking it was a sprinter's race, and Peter Sagan has been performing really well."
"It's completely unexpected."
Dennis's countryman, former world champion Cadel Evans, finished the final stage in a bunch seven seconds behind Sagan and placed 17th overall, 7m24s behind Dennis, having won the fourth stage a day earlier as he also gears for the world titles.