Dennis sets Tour de France time trial record

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Rohan Dennis set a blistering pace in the individual time trial to kick the 2015 Tour de France off in style in Utrecht on Saturday.

The BMC rider is first to pull on the yellow jersey this year after he completed the 13.8kilometre stage in 14minutes and 56 seconds, clocking a record average speed of 55.446km/h.

Dennis' pace smashed the previous record, set by Chris Boardman in Lille 21 years ago, and put the Australian comfortably clear of the main general classification contenders.

"It was my goal to do well. It was pretty smooth," Dennis told the Tour's official website. "It was very long on the way home.

"I kept thinking sixteen minutes because that was my time at training. In the end I got one minute bonus."

Dennis had to wait for the 198-rider field to finish before being crowned stage winner, with Etixx-QuickStep's Tony Martin going closest to snatching victory away from him.

The German looked on course to go fastest, but crossed the line five seconds off Dennis' time as the heat took its toll.

Martin said: "I'm very very disappointed. I wanted to win. Any other result is a bad one.

"I feel that I couldn't handle the heat, especially in the second half where I felt weaker. It was hot but that's the Tour de France, it's in July and this time trial wasn't long enough for me."

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) took the final podium place as he finished a further second back, while Tom Dumoulin and Jos van Emden completed the top five.

Meanwhile, the four men expected to be the main challengers for the yellow jersey in Paris on July 26 all finished within 18 seconds of each other.

Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) clocked the fastest time of 15 minutes and 39 seconds, with Chris Froome (Team Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) all in close contention.