Dennis a time trial away from Romandie win

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Australian time trial king Rohan Dennis faces one final battle against the clock to take overall victory in the Tour de Romandie.

The two-time world champion is now hot favourite to take the title in the prestigious six-day Swiss race after surviving a tough penultimate stage on Saturday with his race lead in tact.

The 31-year-old Adelaide rider, who's not won an overall stage race victory since the Tour Cycliste International La Provence five years ago, is 15 seconds clear of his nearest challenger, Spain's Juan Ayuso, going into Sunday's final stage, a 15.84km time trial.

The solo effort, on a course which features a constant incline, looks to favour Olympic bronze medallist Dennis, who has enjoyed 21 time trial wins in his career.

The biggest stage race win of his career, though, cannot be guaranteed with the top five riders separated by just 30 seconds.

They include two other Australians, fourth-placed Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroen, 25 seconds behind) and fifth-placed Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers, 30 seconds down).

In Saturday's fourth stage, Colombian Sergio Higuita defeated Aleksandr Vlasov in an unlikely sprint finish between two Bora-Hansgrohe teammates to take victory in Zinal after the demanding 180km trek from Aigle.

But Dennis managed to hold on to his lead, finishing just three seconds behind the leaders after a final push which enabled him to finish behind a group of 10 who crossed the line in 4hr 58min 52sec.

Dennis owed a debt to his two high-quality Jumbo-Visma teammates Robert Gesink, Sepp Kuss and Steven Kruijswijk, whose efforts helped snuff out rivals' attacks as they shepherded him in the mountains.

"On the last climb, it was up to Robert, Steven and Sepp to bring Rohan to the finish well," said Jumbo-Visma sports director Merijn Zeeman.

"It is unbelievably beautiful to see how Rohan holds up among the best climbers. Tomorrow, we will do everything to win the Tour de Romandie with Rohan."

O'Connor, Australia's top-ranked road racer, also featured in the denouement, coming home fourth on the day.

As well as the leader's green jersey, Dennis was also presented with a chunk of cheese from the Alpine region of Valbroye.

On Sunday, though, he'll be the one hoping to be the big cheese again.

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